China has set goals for recycling farm waste such as crop stalks and plastic film by 2020 to prevent further pollution in agricultural production and support recycling farming. In addition, the use of pesticides is to be capped as of 2020, according to a policy document jointly released by the National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Agriculture and State Forestry Administration. Pesticides and fertilizers have done much damage to the country’s ecosystem and are liable to bring food safety issues…Full Article: Feb 2016

Key Point

  • By 2020, China hopes to ensure that 85% of crop stalks are reused, 80% of plastic agricultural film and forestry waste materials are recycled, and 75% of animal waste (e.g. livestock and poultry) undergoes reprocessing.

ChinaAg Comments

  • According to the Director of the Institute for Soil, Fertilizer and Agricultural Watersaving at the Xinjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Xinjiang Region uses polyethylene (PE) film on 3.13 million ha of land (~75% of Xinjiang’s arable land). Manas country, northern Xinjiang, uses PE plastic to grow cotton, corn, tomatoes and peppers 85% of its 66,000 ha of arable land.
  • In December 2014, Xinjiang introduced new regulations (to encourage recycling) that require the minimum thickness of PE film for agriculture be 0.01 mm (previously 0.0008 mm was used). Also in December 2014, a local official from Heilongjiang was seeking to process 20,000 MTs of corn stalk into 10,000 MTs of industrial oil and 5,000 MTs of biochar (a type of “green” charcoal). In general, stalks can be processed into eco-fuel (e.g. biochar) or used to produce electricity. The burning of corn stalks typically produces black smoke, smog, and haze.
  • In northern China, farmers generally burn leftover straw, also known as stubble burning, after the autumn harvest. Farmers then plough the land and use the burnt straw as a type of natural fertilizer. China banned stubble burning years ago, but the practice is still widespread.

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