RESOURCES, CONSERVATION & RECYCLING - Workable solutions for sustainably feeding the Chinese population


March 1, 2024 - <>, Lun Yang, Xingao Wang, Fei Lun, Miao Lu, Xiao Sun, Peng Yang, <>, <>


We assessed agricultural practices in China to identify workable solutions for sustainably feeding the Chinese population. We calculated the environmental costs of producing domestic rice, wheat, corn, soybeans, and imported soybeans. The environmental costs were enormous, and the food self-sufficiency and sufficiency (imported soybean included) rates were below 100 %. Subsequently, we assessed differences in environmental costs and crop yields between two main farming entities (small-holding and state-owned), effects of farm size, and uncertainties in soybean trade (China–US trade war and infrastructure improvement in Brazil). We presented scenario-based solutions that can reduce the carbon footprint, water footprint, and economic costs and increase both the food self-sufficiency and sufficiency rates above 100 %. Adopting the best-performing practices from both farming entities had the largest improvement effect. The individual solutions can improve China's United Nations Sustainable Development Goals ranking. Combined, they can act synergistically to navigate food crop production within a safe operating space.



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