China’s Ministry of Agriculture Wednesday [14 June 2017] launched a program to replace chemical fertilizers with organic alternatives in 100 counties and districts. The central government will earmark a fund to support the fertilizer-replacement plan which targets tea, vegetables, and fruit, said Yu Xinrong, vice minister of agriculture…Full Article: Xinhua June 2017

Key Points

  • China’s Ministry of Agriculture held an implementation meeting in Hubei Province, central China.
  • Less than half of China’s annual 3 billion MTs of livestock bio-waste undergoes adequate treatment and disposal.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In March 2017, China’s Minister of Agriculture announced it would launch a campaign to lower the country’s fertilizer usage. According to China’s Ministry of Agriculture, the horticulture sector accounts for 40% of the country’s fertilizer use. By 2020, the country hopes to reduce fertilize usage on its fruits, vegetables and tea crops by 50%. The ministry also stated it hoped to reduce the use of plastic mulch, while also promoting more recycle-friendly thicker mulch. Lastly, the ministry hopes to reduce the number of fishing boats around the Yangtze River and coastal region by 20,000 by 2020.
  • In February 2016, Chinese scientists warned that the country’s reserves of phosphorus could be exhausted within the next 35 years. However, this could be delayed an additional 20 years through the efficient application of the fertilizer.
  • In December 2015, according to a Ministry of Agriculture representative, China will attempt to lower its fertilizer and pesticide utilization annual growth rate by less than 1% in the near future. Afterwards, China hopes to lower this rate to 0.2% to 0.3%, dropping it to 0% by 2020.
  • In August 2015, China’s Ministry of Finance, Central Administration of Customs and State Administration of Taxation announced it would resume imposing value-added taxes on fertilizer sales and imports (halted in 1994).
  • In July 2015, China announced fertilizer and pesticide usage would be “capped” by 2020. Its Ministry of Agriculture stated that less than 33% of fertilizers and pesticides are absorbed by crops.
  • In June 2015, China announced it would construct 80 “eco-friendly” vegetable plots in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei in accordance with the quality control standards of Beijing. These standards primarily focus on limiting the use of pesticides.
  • In May 2015, the Director of the Institute for Soil, Fertilizer and Agricultural Watersaving at the Xinjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences noted that 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 2014, China’s pesticide usage stood at 1.8 million MTs. The provinces/regions that used the most pesticides were Shandong (156,400 MTs), Henan (129,900 MTs), Hubei (126,100 MTs), Hunan (124,300 MTs), Anhui (114,000 MTs), and Guangdong (112,700 MTs).
  • In December 2014, a Chief Researcher at the Botany Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences stated that China utilizes 400 kg of chemical fertilizers per hectare, well above the internationally recognized safe average of 225 kg per ha. During the same month, 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).
  • In late 2013, China announced it would halt agricultural production on ~3.33 million hectares of land owing to soil pollution (e.g. heavy metals, pesticides, and additives).
  • In 2012, China mined 12.5 million MTs of phosphorus or approximately 40% of the world’s total output. Roughly 70% of China’s phosphorus production was used to produce synthetic fertilizers, with the average use totaling 80 kg per hectare of land.
  • From 1980 to 2011, China’s chemical fertilizer usage has shifted to compound fertilizers at the expense of nitrogen fertilizers, despite the latter’s net consumption growth. The share of nitrogen fertilizer consumption fell from 74% to approximately 42% of total consumption. Meanwhile, the share of compound fertilizer consumption increased from under 5% to roughly 35%. Phosphate’s share fell from 21% to 15%, and the share of potash increased from under 5% to approximately 12% of total consumption.
  • In 1994, China exempted fertilizer sales and imports from VAT in order to maintain a stable fertilizer supply and prices.

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