Agricultural capacity increase to assist in climate change fight

China will further enhance the capacity of its agricultural sector to cope with climate change by improving the quality of farmland and reducing food loss and waste, government officials and experts said on Sunday.

Climate-related disasters account for the loss of 50 billion kilograms of grain in China every year, and climate change could further trigger uncertainties in the country’s natural environment, according to the China Meteorological Administration.

The government will continue its efforts to implement measures such as conservation tillage, increasing organic content in soil and better integrating water management to cope with the impact of climate change on the agricultural sector, Sun Zhonghua, chief agronomist at the Ministry of Agriculture, said at an event to mark World Food Day on Sunday.

“We are also working on improving the sustainability of agricultural development and pushing forward the modernization of the agricultural sector,” he said.

Xu Ming, deputy head of the State Grain Administration, said at the event that coping with climate change is one of the major issues that the country is facing as it seeks to ensure food security.

The country’s total population is expected to reach 1.5 billion by 2030, and it would have to produce an extra 100 billion kilograms of grain to meet the demand of such an increase.

However, climate change could result in a 5 to 10 percent decrease in the country’s total grain production in the near future, the administration said in a statement.

“Based on the current level of production, there is a need to increase grain acreage by 10 million hectares,” it said.

It said that climate change could result in rising temperatures if no measures are taken, adding that a decrease in precipitation levels would see the area affected by droughts in northern and southwestern regions expand, and a rise in the frequency of droughts as well as in plant diseases and insect pests.

Vincent Martin, China representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, said China should step up practices such as reducing food loss and waste, and preventing deforestation and overfishing to counter the potential impact of climate change.

It is also important for the country to convert animal waste into biogas as an alternative and renewable energy source, and prepare for climate-related disasters, he said.

“It is also important to prioritize agricultural research to produce crops that require less water to grow, and technologies that can produce more from less,” he said.


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