How china developed its agriculture


The Role of Agriculture in Chinas Development Since the start of the Industrial Revolution and colonial times, agricultural change has been driven by the pull towards cities; the emergence of new livelihoods; and, in some cases, by famine, war and landlessness resulting from population growth, civil conflict, land consolidation by legal and illegal means; and, of course, by opening of agricultural lands in forests, wetlands or other natural areas.

The reforms emancipated and developed rural productive forces, promoted the rapid growth of agriculture – particularly in grain production – and the optimization of agricultural structure. The achievements have been remarkable.


Why was agriculture important to ancient China?

The development of ancient Chinese agricultural and water technology from 8000 BC to 1911 AD

  • Abstract. Technology developments have made significant impacts on both humans and the environment in which they live.
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What are the top five agricultural products of China?

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What was farming like in ancient China?

What was farming like in ancient China? Chinese Farming: Most farmers were very poor. They owned chickens and pigs and sometimes an ox or mule. In the North people grew crops of wheat or millet while in the South they grew rice. In the 16th century new crops such as sweet potatoes, maize and peanuts were introduced.

What are the chief agricultural products in China?

In 2018:

  • It was the 2nd largest producer of maize (257.1 million tons), second only to the USA;
  • It was the largest producer of rice (212.1 million tons);
  • It was the largest producer of wheat (131.4 million tons);
  • It was the 3rd largest producer of sugarcane (108 million tons), second only to Brazil and India;

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How did China develop agriculture?

The transition from hunting and gathering to cultivation of wild plants was initiated by semi-sedentary communities some 11,000 years ago. Among the earliest East Asian pioneering foragers were those who lived in North China who started cultivating wild millet.

How did China improve farming?

Political stability and a growing labor force led to economic growth, and people opened up large areas of wasteland and built irrigation works for expanded agricultural use. As land-use became more intensive and efficient, rice was grown twice a year and cattle began to be used for plowing and fertilization.

Did China develop agriculture independently?

It is hy- pothesized that agriculture does not emerge independently in each of these regions but rather in interrelated steps through variable forms of interaction and information and social exchange within and between these regions.

How was agriculture developed?

Agricultural communities developed approximately 10,000 years ago when humans began to domesticate plants and animals. By establishing domesticity, families and larger groups were able to build communities and transition from a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle dependent on foraging and hunting for survival.

What is China’s main agriculture?

Rice, China’s most important crop, is dominant in the southern provinces, many of which yield two harvests per year. In North China wheat is of the greatest importance, while in the central provinces wheat and rice vie with each other for the top place.

What promotes farming in China?

Urbanization to Promote Agricultural Productivity China hopes that urbanization will increase the average amount of arable land available per each family farm, promote mechanization, and increase average rural income.

Where did agriculture begin in China?

The Yellow River region and the Yangtze River region were the origins of agricultural development in China and therefore were considered separately (Zhang, 2015).

Is China an agricultural country?

China, a big agricultural country endowed with rich agricultural resources, has a long history of farming and the tradition of intensive cultivation as well as a huge rural population. The Chinese government has always placed high priority on the development of agriculture.

Why is agriculture important to China?

Agriculture is at the basis of China’s national economy. Only with sustainable agriculture and rural development can overall sustainable development in China be ensured, therefore it deserves high priority. Chinese agriculture, which can be traced back 10,000 years, and has a wealth of good traditions.

Where was agriculture first developed?

Mehrgarh, one of the most important Neolithic (7000 BC to 3200 BC) sites in archaeology, lies on the “Kachi plain of Baluchistan, Pakistan, and is one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming (wheat and barley) and herding (cattle, sheep and goats) in South Asia.

What are the example of agricultural development?

They included irrigation projects; the promotion of scientifically developed cash crops through the provision of improved seeds, equipment and fertilizer (the so-called Green Revolution approach to making agriculture productive); providing credit for agricultural investments to stimulate agricultural production; and …

How can developing countries improve agriculture?

8 ways Africa can raise farm productivity and boost growthDevelop high-yield crops. … Boost irrigation. … Increase the use of fertilizers. … Improve market access, regulations, and governance. … Make better use of information technology. … Adopt genetically modified (GM) crops.More items…•

What is the most important crop in China?

About 75% of China’s cultivated area is used for food crops. Rice is China’s most important crop, raised on about 25% of the cultivated area. The majority of rice is grown south of the Huai River, in the Zhu Jiang delta, and in the Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan provinces.

What was the size of Beijing in 1956?

Such increases in the sizes of cities, such as the administrative district of Beijing ‘s increase from 4,822 km 2 (1,862 sq mi) in 1956 to 16,808 km 2 (6,490 sq mi) in 1958, has led to the increased adoption of peri-urban agriculture.

What were the improvements in the Tang Dynasty?

Improvements in farming machinery during this era included the moldboard plow and watermill. Later during the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), cotton planting and weaving technology were extensively adopted and improved.

How much of China’s land is arable?

China’s arable land, which represents 10% of the total arable land in the world, supports over 20% of the world’s population. Of this approximately 1.4 million square kilometers of arable land, only about 1.2% (116,580 square kilometers) permanently supports crops and 525,800 square kilometers are irrigated.

What is the Hani minority?

Farming in China. A farmer of the Hani minority, famous for their rice terraced mountains in Yuanyang County, Yunnan. Female tractor driver in China depicted in a 1964 poster. China primarily produces rice, wheat, potatoes, tomato, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, cotton, oilseed, corn and soybeans .

Why is farming so labor intensive in China?

Due to China’s status as a developing country and its severe shortage of arable land , farming in China has always been very labor-intensive. However, throughout its history, various methods have been developed or imported that enabled greater farming production and efficiency. They also utilized the seed drill to help improve on row farming.

When did the government stop rationing?

In 1984, the government replaced mandatory procurement with voluntary contracts between farmers and the government. Later, in 1993, the government abolished the 40-year-old grain rationing system, leading to more than 90 percent of all annual agricultural produce to be sold at market-determined prices.

Who is Ofer Bar Yosef?

Ofer Bar-Yosef is George Grant MacCurdy and Janet G. B. MacCurdy Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology, and Curator of Paleolithic Archaeology in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, at Harvard University. He has co-edited 16 volumes (including four major site reports) and authored, or co-authored over 300 papers and book chapters.

When did the cultivation of wild plants begin?

60 George Street. The transition from hunting and gathering to cultivation of wild plants was initiated by semi-sedentary communities some 11,000 years ago. Among the earliest East Asian pioneering foragers were those who lived in North China who started cultivating wild millet. Within one or two millennia the annually cultivated millet became …

When did agriculture start in China?

The transition from hunting and gathering to cultivation of wild plants was initiated by semi-sedentary communities some 11,000 years ago .

What is the origin of agriculture?

Generally speaking, agriculture is defined as a subsistence strategy consisting of systematic cultivations of domesticated plants and the husbandry of domesticated animals. The origin of agriculture in China is an important issue of prehistory, archaeology, agricultural history, and the history and evolution of domesticated plants and animals not only in China, but also in Asia and the world, and the topic has attracted much academic attention since the 19th century. Between the 1860s and the 1970s some scholars argued for an indigenous origin of agriculture in mainland China, while others proposed that prehistoric agriculture in China was a result of cultural expansion from the West. Much more archaeological data have been discovered and multidisciplinary studies have been carried out since the 1970s, and it is a general consensus today that broomcorn millet ( Panicum miliaceum ), foxtail millet ( Setaria sativa ), and domesticated Asian rice ( Oryza sativa) were indigenously cultivated by approximately 9,000 to 8,000 years ago and eventually domesticated in northern China (including part of the Yellow River valley) and the Yangzi River valley, respectively. The pig was probably domesticated in the southern part of the lower Yellow River valley by 8,200 years ago, while the domestication of water buffalo and chicken is still under debate. However, many questions remain unsolved on why and how agriculture originated and developed in the early to middle Holocene, whether one or two independent centers of cereal farming arose, whether cultural dynamics between northern China and the Yangzi River valley existed, and, if yes, in what aspect (s) the cultural dynamics contributed to the origin and development of prehistoric agriculture in the two regions. Nevertheless, the origin and development of agriculture has produced enormous and irreversible impacts on the cultural and environmental changes in mainland China since then, and agriculture has been the foundation of Chinese civilization for thousands of years. Agriculture has also expanded from the Yellow River and the Yangzi River basins to other areas in East and Southeast Asia, and it has induced significant cultural changes.

What is the book “The Origin of Prehistoric Agriculture” about?

The book summarizes the climatic and natural contexts from the terminal Pleistocene to the Holocene in mainland China by regions and reports major archaeological data, research methods, and outcomes related to the origin and development of prehistoric agriculture in China. back to top.

Why is China important to the world?

China is a country with very limited arable land for its size , but needs to feed the largest population on earth. Therefore, the Chinese government attaches great importance to agriculture. Although considerable amounts of agricultural land get lost to new infrastructure, industries, and urban settlements every year, …

Is Brazil exporting to China?

On the contrary, imports from the European Union and South America have increased and Brazil is now by far the largest exporting country of agricultural products to China. Due to its agricultural limitations and growing consumer demand, China’s food imports will most likely further increase in the future.

What year did China become a poor country?

But 40 years passed, and China remained one of the poorest nations on earth. In 1949, the republic was defeated by the Communist peasant army. The new government initiated the third ambitious attempt to industrialize China—this time by mimicking the Soviet Union’s central planning model.

Why did the Revolutionaries of the educated elite believe that the monarchy’s failure to industrialize and China’

The revolutionaries of the educated elite believed that the monarchy’s failure to industrialize and China’s overall backwardness were due to its lack of democracy, political inclusiveness and pluralism (exactly as the modern institutionalism theory has argued).

What was the slogan of the New Republic?

At that time, a famous slogan among the Chinese was “Only science and democracy can save China.”.

How many financial crises did the United States have?

But keep in mind that the United States experienced 15 financial crises and a four-year civil war as it rose to global prominence. It was on the verge of collapse in 1907 after taking on the mantle of the world’s superpower from the United Kingdom.

What is China’s most important industry?

Thirty-five years ago, China’s per capita income was only one-third of that of sub-Sahara Africa. Today, China is the world’s largest manufacturing powerhouse: It produces nearly 50 percent of the world’s major industrial goods, including crude steel (800 percent of the U.S. level and 50 percent of global supply), cement (60 percent of the world’s production), coal (50 percent of the world’s production), vehicles (more than 25 percent of global supply) and industrial patent applications (about 150 percent of the U.S. level). China is also the world’s largest producer of ships, high-speed trains, robots, tunnels, bridges, highways, chemical fibers, machine tools, computers, cellphones, etc.

What is China’s growth?

Along the way, China is igniting new growth across Asia, Latin America, Africa and even the industrial West, thanks to the country’s colossal demand for raw materials, energy, trade and capital flows. China’s rapid growth has puzzled many people, including economists.

What percentage of the world’s population is fully industrialized?

The reason is simple: Less than 10 percent of the world’s population is fully industrialized; if China can successfully finish its industrialization, an additional 20 percent of the world’s population will be entering modern times.



Agricultural policies

Agricultural policy has gone through three broad phases: the 1950s, when agriculture was collectivized, ending with the Great Leap Forward (1958–60); the period from 1961 to the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, when more agricultural progress came to depend on the supply of capital and modern inputs; and the period under the post-Mao leadership, which has been characterized by greater reliance on markets, prices, and incentives to boost production and to diversify output. (Inputs in this case refer to components of production such as land, labor, se…

History before 1949

Wheat likely “appeared in the lower Yellow River around 2600 Before Common Era (BCE), followed by Gansu and Xinjiang around 1900 BCE and finally occurred in the middle Yellow River and Tibet regions by 1600 BCE”.
The population doubled as new lands were settled in Fujian, Guangzhou, and Guangxi provinces, new crops were introduced, and irrigation systems were improved. The mountainous areas in southeastern China were developed in the Ming-Qing period by migrants from overcrowded areas. They specialized in new crops such as (such as co…

Since 1949

Since 1949 China’s political leaders have tried a variety of large-scale social experiments to boost agricultural production. First, a massive land reform program eliminated landlords and gave land to those who farmed it. Next, farm families were progressively organized into cooperatives, collectives, and finally people’s communes. After more than twenty-five years of experience with communes, officials abolished these institutions, which had become too bureaucratic and rigid to respond to the flexible requirements of agricultural production. Also, farm …

Reform of the agricultural economy in the 1980s

In the late 1980s, China remained a predominantly agricultural country. As of 1985 about 63% [percent] of the population lived in rural areas, and nearly 63 percent of the national labor force was engaged in agriculture (see Migration in China). Modern technology had spread slowly in the vast farm areas, and the availability of modern supplies was less than adequate, causing growth in agricultural output to lag behind production increases in the rest of the economy. The proportion of GNP produced by agriculture declined from over 43 percent in the early 1…

Resources endowment

Arable land in China was particularly scarce; little more than 10 percent of the total land area, most of it in the eastern third of the country, can be cultivated. This compares with more than 20 percent for the continental United States, which is around the same size as China, despite having one billion fewer people. Further agricultural expansion was relatively difficult because almost no land that could be profitably cultivated remained unused and because, despite intensive cultivation, yields from some marginal lands were low. Some possibility for expansio…

Planning and organization

The state’s role in the mid-1980s was chiefly to plan production and manage resources. Among state institutions at the national level, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Fishery was primarily responsible for coordinating agricultural programs. Other central bodies of importance in agricultural policy matters included the State Economic Commission; the State Planning Commission; the ministries of commerce, forestry, and the chemical industry; the State Statistical Bureau; and the Agricultural Bank; and various academies and institutions …

Operational methods and inputs

China’s farmers have long used techniques such as fertilization and irrigation to increase the productivity of their scarce land. Over time, many farming techniques have been modernized: chemical fertilizers have supplemented organic fertilizers, and mechanical pumps have come into use in irrigation. Government planners in the 1980s emphasized increased use of fertilizer, improved irrigation, mechanization of agriculture, and extension of improved seed varieties as leading features of the agricultural modernization program.


China primarily produces rice, wheat, potatoes, tomato, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, cotton, oilseed, corn and soybeans.

International trade

China is the world’s largest importer of soybeans and other food crops, and is expected to become the top importer of farm products within the next decade. In a speech in September 2020, CCP leader Xi Jinping lamented the country’s reliance on imported seed.
While most years China’s agricultural production is sufficient to feed the country, in down years, China has to import grain. Due to the shortage of available farm land and an abundance of lab…


The development of farming over the course of China’s history has played a key role in supporting the growth of what is now the largest population in the world.
Analysis of stone tools by Professor Liu Li and others has shown that hunter-gatherers 23,000–19,500 years ago ground wild plants with the same tools that would later be used for millet and rice.

Major agricultural products

Although China’s agricultural output is the largest in the world, only 10% of its total land area can be cultivated. China’s arable land, which represents 10% of the total arable land in the world, supports over 20% of the world’s population. Of this approximately 1.4 million square kilometers of arable land, only about 1.2% (116,580 square kilometers) permanently supports crops and 525,800 square kilometers are irrigated. The land is divided into approximately 200 million hou…


In its first fifty years, the People’s Republic of China greatly increased agricultural production through organizational and technological improvements.
However, since 2000 the depletion of China’s main aquifers has led to an overall decrease in grain production, turning China into a net importer. The trend of Chinese dependence on imported food is expected to accelerate as the water shortage worsens. Despite their potential, desalination plants find few customers because it is still che…


Despite rapid growth in output, the Chinese agricultural sector still faces several challenges. Farmers in several provinces, such as Shandong, Zhejiang, Anhui, Liaoning, and Xinjiang often have a hard time selling their agricultural products to customers due to a lack of information about current conditions.
Between the producing farmer in the countryside and the end-consumer in the cities there is a …

See also

• History of China
• History of agriculture
• Population history of China
• History of canals in China
• Lettuce production in China

Further reading

• Chai, Joseph C. H. An economic history of modern China (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011).
• Perkins, Dwight H. Agricultural development in China, 1368-1968 (1969). pmline
• The Dragon and the Elephant: Agricultural and Rural Reforms in China and India Edited by Ashok Gulati and Shenggen Fan (2007), Johns Hopkins University Press

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