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.

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