Science - November 10, 2016

Research on sustainable food production in China

Albert Sikkema

Chinese and Wageningen scientists are going to study how they can develop sustainable food production in China. To this end they are receiving over three million euros in funding from the Chinese ministry of Science and Technology and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW).

<photo: bad use of fertilizers in agriculture leads to water pollution in China>

The Chinese and Wageningen researchers intend to explore the cross-connections between food production, land use and water pollution, in order then to make recommendations for a safe food system based on a careful management of resources. There is an urgent need for an integral approach of this kind in China, which is plagued by food scandals and environmental pollution. Wageningen development economist Nico Heerink will be coordinating the research. The project builds on long-term collaboration between Wageningen and Chinese research groups. Wageningen development economists have been working for more than 20 years with the agricultural university in Nanjing, Environmental Policy has close links with Tsinghua University in Beijing, the Soil quality department with the China Agricultural University (CAU) in Beijing and the Wageningen group Water systems and global change with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shijiazhuang.

These groups are now going to collaborate in six sub-projects. They’ll be looking into a range of issues including efficiency and environmental pollution in Chinese family farming; the interactions between water consumption and water pollution; and how to develop an effective manure policy. This requires collaboration between social and technical scientists, write the initiators, as well as between researchers and stakeholders in Chinese food production chains.

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