TECHNICAL DIGEST - Issue 8
Food availability in China throughout history had beenalways unpredictable. This situation did not change evenwhen the Communist Party came in power in 1949. After1949, China began its serious development programmefor industrialization in order to catch with other country’slevel. Substantial investment was made in the industrialactivities and as a result, food shortages in Chinabecame so bad that many people died of hunger in theearly 1960s. The Chinese government then realized thata balance between industry and agriculture wasnecessary &
“walking on two legs”
became a popularguideline for regional development of industry andagriculture in China in 1960s.The
was the basic governmentorganization in rural China from 1958 to 1984. It normallyconsisted of many villages and had the responsibility tooperate the collectively-owned assets, including landand other capital assets. The basic idea of the people’scommune was to create an equal society, where assetswere owned by people, and the benefit was more orless equally distributed among these people. However,this practice proved to be less efficient in terms ofproductivity.
“To eat from one big pot”
discouragedpeople’s own initiative.Stimulated by this new system, which allowed farmersto make their own decisions regarding agriculturalproduction, the food supply situation in China hasimproved a lot. Nevertheless, the food supply in Chinaremained insufficient, until the “People’s Commune” wasdissolved and a privatized agricultural production systemwas restored in the 1980s.
Need for New Approach
Like India, agriculture continues to require greaterattention in China where the large population and relativescarcity of farmland remain a potentially big threat tonational security. The growing concern for food securityin recent years has promoted the development ofmodern suburban agriculture.In order to promote this mutual support of industry andagriculture, and at the same time the integration of theurban and rural economies, China reorganized its spatialarrangement for the first time, by enlarging theadministrative boundaries of most of its cities.
NEW CHINESE AGRICULTURAL MODEL IN INDIAN CONTEXT
This sparked the development of
. Thus, “suburban agriculture” is locatedmainly near the boundaries of city limits and is fullyoriented to urban demand leading to production ofvegetables, fruit, milk, fish, livestock, poultry, as wellas some high value-added grain products such asvarious beans etc.. Suburban agriculture is labour andcapital intensive with a high level of productivity. It hasabsorbed many rural labourers and provided a stableand diversified food supply to urban residents.Since many rural people migrate to cities for a betterlife, it gives rise to development of suburban agriculture,as
i.urban growth create a larger demand for diversifiedagricultural products;ii.rural migrants replace cheap labour force insuburban agriculture, as many of these farmers startto work in the industrial economy; andiii.competition for the scarce land between differenteconomic activities thereby making suburbanagriculture production more capital-intensive.
In the late 1990s, a turning point took place, bringing anew development in suburban agriculture in China.Instead of paying attention to the quantity of food supply,people started to prioritise it according to its quality.China began to apply the concept of food security intoits planning agenda and regarded it as a new strategy.
Food security in China means a sufficient,sustainable, accessible, diversified and nourishingsupply. So, suburban agriculture was found to beimportant for food security in China.
Accordingly, different municipal governments in Chinacarried out various programmes aimed at modernizationof suburban agriculture sector. For example, in Beijing,as well as in Shanghai, agriculture oriented science andtechnology development and modern agriculturedemonstration parks were established. In order
toprovide better service to the urban market, theseparks are divided into eight sub-zones; each onehaving its own focus.
These sub-zones are classifiedas follows :
(i)Precision agriculture zone:
In this demonstrationzone, all production processes like irrigation,fertilization, etc. are monitored and managed by a