Foreign Policy Digital

The Better Earth

China's future isn't just skyscrapers, but also soil.

Eight hundred million people have escaped poverty in China since Deng Xiaoping launched his gaige kaifang economic reforms in 1978. And while many might imagine the soaring cityscapes and bustling industrial centers to be the engines of this swift transformation, much of this success can actually be credited to the increases in agricultural productivity achieved by China’s farmers.

Chinese agriculture ably stepped up to the formidable task of feeding its growing population. Yet China’s major agricultural regions still of staple crops seen in the United States, Germany, and other major exporting countries, reaching  of more than 3.5 tons per acre for rice and wheat, and more than 6 tons per acre for maize, from current national averages  of 2-3 tons per acre. As the world struggles with the possible impacts of climate change, leveraging China’s agricultural potential will be critical to global food security in coming years.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Foreign Policy Digital

Foreign Policy Digital5 min readPolitics
Trump’s Phase One Deal With China Misunderstands Global Trade
Soon after U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping announced a phase one U.S.-Chinese trade deal in late December 2019, relief was palpable. Pundits looked forward to the return of some semblance of stability and quickly jumped on w
Foreign Policy Digital6 min readPolitics
How Ukraine Vanished In The Fog Of Impeachment
American leaders now understand that Kyiv is critical to domestic politics. But they've forgotten how important it is to U.S. foreign policy.
Foreign Policy Digital6 min readTech
Who’s More Powerful, Jeff Bezos or Mohammed bin Salman? Neither.
The relationship between the two men proves that, even at a time of rapid technological and economic change, you can’t buy real power.