China will pump in about 25.5 billion yuan (3.77 billion US dollar) in 2017 to projects to return farmland to forestry and grass in 14 provincial regions and in parts of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The money will be used to finish the reclamation of 820,000 hectares, of which 740,000 hectares will be returned to forest, according to Zhou Hongsheng, head of the land reclamation office under the State Forestry Administration…Full Article: The Global Times July 2017

Key Point

  • In 2014, China carried out land reclamation work that sought to transition approximately 2.83 million hectares of farmland to forests and grassland by 2020.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In 2020, according China’s Ministry of Land and Resources, the country must have at least 1.865 billion mu (~124.3 million hectares) of farmland, an increase from the previously stated 1.8 billion mu.
  • In July 2017, China’s government began finalizing a draft law on soil pollution. If the law is approved, fines ranging from CNY 500,000 to CNY 2 million [~USD 73,000 to USD 292,000] will be levied on companies found dumping waste (sewage/sludge) containing heavy metals or other pollutants on farmland.
  • From 2015 to 2016, China’s farmland area reportedly shrank 1.153 million mu (~76,866 hectares).
  • In November 2016, Canada’s Nelson Soil Remediation and China’s Suzhou Niersen Environmental and Ecological Technology signed a joint venture agreement.
  • In October 2016, Chinese representatives from Suzhou Niersen Environmental and Ecological Technology and Canadian representatives from Nelson Soil Remediation attended the RemTech 2016 (soil remediation) conference in Banff National Park, Alberta.
  • In May 2016, China’s State Council published an “Action Plan on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution”. Key to the plan would be business-backed (private enterprise) soil remediation efforts/investments.
  • In 2015, China launched a pilot program to boost the productivity of its black soil through erosion control and increased usage of organic matter. A total of 17 grain producing counties in northeastern China, including Suihua City, were select to participate. According to a Suihua agricultural official, the percentage of organic matter in Suihua City’s black soil has declined from 5.8% to 4% over the past 30 years. In general, more than 50% of the city’s arable land is threatened by erosion.
  • In September 2015, soybean farmers near the city of Suihua, west-central Heilongjiang Province, were found growing GM soybeans. Heilongjiang Province is China’s largest soybean grower, accounting for 2.5 million ha or 27% of the country’s total sown area in 2013. This was a stark decline from the 4 million ha that was sown in 2009, a sign that Heilongjiang soybean farmers are becoming less competitive with cheaper foreign imports.
  • In July 2015, China announced it would publish an action plan on the prevention and treatment of soil pollution for the mainland. According the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Technology Standards at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the soil pollution action plan would be made public during the latter half of 2015. Also during the same month, according to China’s Ministry of Agriculture, less than 33% of fertilizers and pesticides are absorbed by crops while more than 50% of livestock and poultry waste is not processed (e.g. biofuel, fertilizers, etc.).
  • In 2014, China released a survey that 16% of its soil area exceeded state mandated pollution limits.
  • 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 June 2012, the Heilongjiang’s Director of Soil and Fertilizer Administration stated that in 1949 the province had black soil up to one meter (~3.2 feet) deep. This depth of black soil has since shrunk to half a meter or less due to soil erosion.
  • In 2012, northeastern China (i.e. Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, and Inner Mongolia) had approximately 35.2 million hectares of black soil.
  • According to a 2011 survey conducted by China’s Ministry of Agriculture, 67.8% of the sampled rice paddy land (or 107,200 hectares out of 182,133 ha) were contaminated with pollutants including cadmium, arsenic, nickel, copper, mercury and chromium. The survey took place in Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Sichuan.

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