Environment, Water Resources and Agricultural Policies

Lessons from China and OECD Countries

image of Environment, Water Resources and Agricultural Policies

China's endowment of water resources is extremely low, poorly distributed, and increasingly polluted.  With agriculture being one of the main consumers of water, China's future development depends on initiatives that will raise the efficiency and efficacy of water use.  These workshop proceedings examine the current situation in China, look at what is being done in OECD countries to manage water resources, and suggest policy options for China.



Non-Point Source Agricultural Pollution

Issues and Implications

Fertiliser application rates have doubled since 1980 and pesticide use has increased almost three-fold over the same period. While chemicals have played an important role in increasing agricultural production, they can also increase production costs, increase the risk of certain food quality and food safety problems, and contribute to environmental pollution. Chemical fertilisers are now over-applied at rates between 20 and 50%. For pesticides, the over application rate is even higher, falling between 40 and 55%. There is some circumstantial evidence that tenure and migration issues play a role in this pattern of excess application of commercial inputs as migrant workers apply inputs “all at once” because the time they have during their home visits is limited. But there is even more evidence that the government, scientific community, plant breeders, extension agents, and input suppliers have convinced farmers that “if a little bit is good, a lot is better”. While these findings are tentative, they suggest that incentives within and among the existing research community, extension education system, and agricultural input suppliers need examination.


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