Heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides has helped China’s Northeast become the country’s top grain producer, but it’s also come at the cost of damaging the region’s environment. CCTV’s Guan Yang reports.
China is the world’s largest grain producer. Despite only having seven percent of the world’s arable land, its crops feeds over one-fifth of the world’s population. In recent years, efficiency has dropped as reliance on chemicals has increased. Still, farmers say they have no other option.
Farmers, particularly in northern China, reportedly use 40 percent more fertilizer than recommended, resulting in about 10 million tons of fertilizer every year being discharged into the water, polluting nearby rivers and lakes.
Figures from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences show that in half of China, the average level of nitrogen fertilizer used exceeded the internationally accepted limit of 225 kilograms per hectare.
High crop yields require plenty of soil nutrition, but most of the ground in China isn’t naturally fertile. Experts say fertilizers are the most direct way to provide the necessary extra nutrients. Whether China could ever live without fertilizers or cut down on their excessive use with the food security of 1.3 billion people at stake, there is growing pressure to keep growing, at any cost.