Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


Guo Tingshuang
Ministry of Agriculture, PRC

In 1992, the Animal Production based on Crop Residues (APCR) project was listed in the State Agricultural Comprehensive Development Programme (SACDP) of China. In only nine years, 13 state-level APCR prefectures and 380 APCR demonstration counties had been established, and more than 8 million farmer households were utilizing ammoniated straw to raise livestock. The implementation of the APCR project not only enabled severalfold increases in beef, mutton and milk production, but also saved more than 50 million tonne of feed grain annually. Thereby, China reduced its grain imports, making a contribution towards world grain security. The APCR project has driven the development of slaughtering and processing of meat, leather, horns, bones, blood, etc. This, together with the sale of these products, has provided employment for 20 million people in rural and urban areas, making a contribution to farmer income and maintaining social stability. The return of manure to farmland in the APCR not only improved soil and agriculture outputs, but also reduced chemical fertilizer use and its environmental pollution, thereby reducing the generation of "red tides" and other ecological calamities. The effective utilization of crop residues also diminished air pollution caused by annual straw burning. Implementation of the APCR project in the past decade has not only generated over ¥ 70 000 million in direct economic benefits, but also generated favourable social, agronomic and environmental benefits.

Although the APCR project has already had great achievements, looking into the future, the burden is heavy and the way is still long. Strategically, Chinese agriculture confronts multiple challenges, and the situation is serious. The first challenge is population growth. China has a population of 1 300 million (22 percent of the world) that will grow by more than 14 million a year. This increase will demand at least 5.6 million tonne of food grain. However, in the past 16 years, annual grain output increased only by 4.5 million tonne. The second challenge is the pressure coming from higher living standard since, together with economic development, the consumption of meat, eggs, milk and fish is continuously increasing. This means extra feed grain to produce them. The third challenge is continuous reduction in farmland area, worsening ecological conditions. The development of the economy requires the constructing of highways, factories, commercial centres and domestic accommodation, which occupy large areas of former farmland. In merely the last three years (1996-1999), net reduction in farmland was 13 million mu, equivalent to the land of 10 counties. At the same time, due to natural and mainly anthropogenic calamities, annual deterioration of pasture land has exceeded 10 million mu. This continuous environmental deterioration is fundamentally destroying the base for agricultural production. Most domestic and foreign scholars have predicted than in 2-3 decades, China will need to import huge amounts of grain to meet the continually rising demand. However, the grain that can be provided worldwide is also limited. If a great country with 1 300 million population imports large grain amounts, it will certainly threaten world grain security.

To solve the grain problem, "tapping new resources and economizing on expenditure" has been proposed. The "tapping new resources" implies "increasing output." If enough grain is produced, the problem is solved. But history shows that in the last 16 years grain output increases in China could not keep up with population growth. Facing this situation, the only way out is "economize on expenditure."

As mentioned before, through implementation of the APCR project, there have been annual savings in feed grain equivalent to over 50 million tonne. This is far from the maximum limit. So far, from the over 600 million tonne of crop residues annually, only about 200 million tonne are used as feed, of which less than half is treated (silage, ammoniation, etc.). Its further exploitation still has great potential. Nevertheless, crop residues can only be fed to herbivorous animals, not to swine or poultry. Only by making a great effort in developing herbivore production will full utilization of crop residues be possible. In China, herbivorous animals are a relatively weak element of the livestock industry. Beef, mutton, milk, leather, hair and feathers are all in short supply. MOA recently formulated a policy guide for animal production restructuring, namely: "stabilize pork and poultry egg production; raise beef, mutton and poultry meat production; and intensively develop milk, quality wool and fine hair production." In other words, strive to develop herbivorous animal production.

In the first chapter it was already demonstrated that, in China, the main base for the development of herbivorous animals is the agricultural zone, the basic feed being crop residues and other crop by-products. State Council leaders have already decided that the APCR project ought to be unremittingly carried out. Therefore, MOA has already formulated a National development scheme for a project on animal production based on crop residues 2001-2010 (henceforth called the Scheme), planning APCR work for the next decade.

According to the Scheme, in the coming 10 years, apart from consolidating the 13 current, 47 additional demonstration prefectures ought to be established. According to the State Great Development Strategy for West China, the new demonstration prefectures and counties should be towards west China, since, in the past, most were in the Central Plain and in east China. Establishment of APCR demonstration counties in the cropping and pastoral mixed zone combines animal raising based on grass and APCR. Using a confined system instead of grazing allows for the rehabilitation of grasslands, striving for a dual goal: animal production and ecological reconstruction. Besides, the new Scheme stipulates that demonstration prefectures and counties ought to implement the guiding policy of paying equal attention to new settings and extension, and respect regional development. This consolidates the existing extension base, gradually constituting a recognized production pattern.

If Scheme targets are reached, crop residues for animal raising should reach 385 million tonne by 2010, equivalent to 55 percent of all crop residues. Of this, silage will be 250 million tonne (fresh weight) and ammoniated residues 120 million tonne. Feed grain saved will equal 126 million tonne (62 million tonne in the next decade), which will compensate for the grain demand from population growth in this period. In addition, APCR will make huge contributions to social employment, to development of ecological agriculture and to environmental protection. The full text of the Scheme annexed to this publication.

Plate 8-1. Dr R. Orskov, a FAO expert, in China

Plate 8-2. State Councillor Mr Chen Junsheng inspects a beef cattle slaughter house

Plate 8-3. Yellow Cattle competition - the champion

Plate 8-4. Developing the beef cattle feed-lot

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page