China to develop drought & flood resistant farmland in area bigger than Spain

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China’s Ministry of Agriculture has announced plans to create 53.3 million hectares of connected farmland to ensure the country’s food security. More than five million hectares of farmland will be developed this year.

The country which has to feed nearly 1.4 billion people has been building drought and flood resistant farmland since 2011. By the end of 2018, China had developed 42.6 million hectares of such land.

It aims to have 53.3 million hectares of high-standard farmland developed by 2020, and 60 million hectares by 2022. The area will be bigger than the country of Spain.

The construction of more high-output fields, coupled with higher agricultural mechanization levels and improved varieties of crops, will help ensure China has an advantageous position in the global grain market, Zhang Xiaoshan, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences told Xinhua News.

More than 40 percent of China’s arable land is suffering from degradation, according to the ministry’s statistics. Currently, two-thirds of China’s arable land consists of medium- and low-yield fields. Half of the arable land lacks irrigation facilities.

Since 2013 the country has been creating 55 billion tons of artificial rain a year. In an attempt to induce extra rainfall over the Tibetan Plateau it was embarking on the largest artificial rain experiment in history. The project includes tens of thousands of fuel-burning chambers installed across the Tibetan mountains in order to boost rainfall in the region by up to 10 billion cubic meters annually.

The plan, which is an extension of a project called Tianhe or ‘Sky River’ developed by researchers in 2016 at China’s Tsinghua University, is hoped to force extra rain over some 1.6 million square kilometers, an area roughly three times the size of Spain.