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Pursuing Sustainable Productivity with Millions of Smallholder Farmers

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Zhenling Cui, College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University
Presented at the ReSAKSS-Asia conference “Agriculture and Rural Transformation in Asia: Past Experiences and Future Opportunities”. An international conference jointly organized by ReSAKSS-Asia, IFPRI, TDRI, and TVSEP project of Leibniz Universit Hannover with support from USAID and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) at the Dusit Thani Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand December 12–14, 2017.

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Pursuing Sustainable Productivity with Millions of Smallholder Farmers

  1. 1. College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100094, China E-mail: cuizl@cau.edu.cn Pursuing Sustainable Productivity with Millions of Smallholder Farmers Zhenling Cui, etc. Agriculture and Rural Transformation in Asia: Past Experiences and Future Opportunities
  2. 2. Outline  Background and challenge  National campaign with produce more grains with less environmental impacts  Future research with sustainable productivity
  3. 3. It took several hundred years to realize the dream of food sel-sufficiency in China (Data from the Statistic Bureau of China Demand was estimated by using average grain demand of 400 kg/capita/year) Year Graindemandandproduction(Mtons) Population(M) 580 600 620 640 214 305 407 505 431 531 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 1961 1969 1977 1985 1993 2001 2009 2017 2025 Grain(millionton) Year Grain demand Grain production Population 600 MT in 2013Population Chinese agriculture has a big role to play in feeding the 1.4 billion people.
  4. 4. 83rd IFA Annual Conference Unfortunately, we used too much aricultural inputs, e.g. fertilizer 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 1961 1964 1967 1970 1973 1976 1979 1982 1985 1988 1991 1994 1997 2000 2003 2006 2009 2012 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 1961 1964 1967 1970 1973 1976 1979 1982 1985 1988 1991 1994 1997 2000 2003 2006 2009 2012 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1961 1964 1967 1970 1973 1976 1979 1982 1985 1988 1991 1994 1997 2000 2003 2006 2009 2012 Estern Europe and Centrl Asia North America Western Europe China (Adopted from IFA) N P K 101-fold 40-fold 700-fold
  5. 5. Low nutrient use efficiency (NUE) ---Low PFP Partial factor productivity: PFPN = kg harvest product per kg N applied year y = -0.9308x + 1892.1 R 2 = 0.8502 0 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 Fertilizerapplicationrate(kg/ha) 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 PFPN(kggrain/kgN) N application rate PFPN As a result, N use efficiency is decreasing with years.
  6. 6. CH 4 C, N C, N - - C, N C, N CO 2 , N 2 C, N C, N N CH 4 , CO 2 , NH 3 , N 2 O, NO x NO 3 N 2 O Crop & animal production Human consumption OutputInput Agriculture: A rather leaky system Emission leaching
  7. 7. Environmental costs were very high! (Science 2009, 1014-1015) Eutrophication 1980s: 13.2 kg N/ha 2000s: 21.1 kg N/ha 60% of increase Air pollution -0.5 Soil acidification pH 4.2 pH 6.1
  8. 8. Outline  Background and challenge  National campaign with produce more grains with less environmental impacts Q1, Can we reduce fertilizer use without yield losses in China? Q2, Can we produce more grains with less environmental costs? Q3, Can millions of smallholder farms adopt our management?  Future research with sustainable productivity
  9. 9. Overuse and misuse N fertilization (2003)
  10. 10. 2009: Cut down N fertilizer by 30-50% reduces N loss into environment without reducing crop yield! Can we reduce fertilizer use without yield losses in China?
  11. 11. Integrated N management in China  + Yield: 6.1-6.7%  - N rate: 17.8-18.7%  - Efficiency: 27.8-31.8%  - Nr losses: 21.1-26.3%  - GHG emission: 11.2-21.2% n = 50,459, during 2001-2015 Maize Rice Wheat
  12. 12. Opt.+45 kg N ha-1 Opt. N Heilongjiang province
  13. 13. Doubling maize yield without increasing N application rate. 1. Designing cropping system to adopt local ecological conditions, to make use of solar radiation and periods with favorable temperatures to the maximum possible extent, and thereby increase crop productivity. 2. Establishing an in-season root zone nutrient management strategy for high-yielding cropping system. (Chen et al., 2011, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. ) 2011 Solution for maize Can we produce more grains with less environmental costs?
  14. 14. >30% >50% >40% 80% ISSM Projected demand 2014 Success in 3 main crops (Chen et al.,Nature, 2014) 2014 Producing more grain with less environmental costs in intensive agriculture
  15. 15. Campaign collaborators (1,152) Extension staff (65,420) Provincial ag-bureau County/township ag-technicians Agbusiness personnel (138,530) Product stewardship Regional marketing Local dealers, sales-reps Scientists Grad-students Smallholder farmers (20.9 million) 452 counties Lead farmers Farmer co-ops …… 0.8 million ha A schematic illustration of the multi-tiered multilateral campaign aimed at reaching out to smallholder farmers with ISSM-based management practices for high yield high efficiency and low pollution Can millions of stallholder farms adopt our management in whole China?
  16. 16. Farm-based Double High Technology (DHT) Innovation and Transfer by Science & Technology Backyard (STB) Live in the villages Work with farmers in 4-zero models zero-distance, zero-time lag, zero-charge and zero-personnel selection Doing experiment Farmer school How do we do this large-scale demonstration?
  17. 17. A. 优化技术措施相对传统 技术措施增产幅度 B. 采用优化技术农户比例(绿色) 和未采用优化技术措施农户比例( 浅色) 不当品种 播种量过大 不适宜的密度 播期过早 过早使用 使用过多或者过少 过早使用 耕作过浅 不当品种 过早收获 民技 到位率农 术 18% 53% 建立前 建立后 Wheat variety Maize variety Maize sowing density Wheat sowing date and amount Maize sowing date Maize harvest date Wheat N rate Maize N rate Wheat top-dressing Wheat deep plow A. Contribution to Yield B. Adopting rate Increase in adopting rate by 90,000householders Contribution, adopting rate and increase in adopting rate of ten key technologies 2016 Success in 4 villages
  18. 18. ISSM on-farm trails  + Yield: 18.3-21.8%  - N rate: 8.5-15.6%  + Efficiency: 26.0-33.1%  - Nr losses: 22.9-34.9%  - GHG emission: 18.6-29.1% n = 13,123, during 2001-2015 Maize Rice Wheat 2017 Success in China Demonstration Land: 37.7 million ha Production: +32 million tons N use: -1.2 million tons N losses: -0.3 million tons GHG emission: -15 million tons Income: +12.3 billion $ Nature, 2017, accepted.
  19. 19. Designed fertilizer Farmers'’ practice Anqing station, Heilongjiang ( 05.8.28 ) Saving N by 38% , Yield increase by
  20. 20. N surplus, N recovery efficiency and GHG emission in China’s major croplands from 1978 to 2014. Jiao et al., unpublished data
  21. 21. Outline  Background and challenge  National campaign with produce more grains with less environmental impacts  Future research with sustainable productivity
  22. 22. Transformation of agriculture in China From solely high productivity to 4 Wins • High crop yield • High resource use efficiency • high farmer’s income • low environmental pollutions The challenges ahead:
  23. 23. Management
  24. 24. Nutrient management for vegetable and fruit Data Source: Survey by MoA, China Fruit Vegetables Grain production Chemicalfertilizeruse(kgha-1 ) Groundwater N in 100cm 384 1267 651 Crop demand 280 329 121 N accumulation as nitrate in 0-100cm soil layer(kg/ha) in cereal, vegetable and fruit production systems in China 100cm Large amount of nitrate accumulated in soil
  25. 25. Smallholder farmer vs Large-scale farmer
  26. 26. Policies, i.e. Action plan for Zero Growth in Fertilizer Use by 2020
  27. 27. Scenario analysis of Action plan for Zero Growth in Fertilizer Use by 2020 National target of zero-increse 40% N use efficiency 80% manure use rate , N,P,K reduces 10 、 3 、 2million tons 75% of crop straw return 6178 5766 53835658 5431 6178 5094 4489 5168 3789 Reduce application rate by 30% in vegetable and fruit trees 10000tons (WF Zhang, PC)
  28. 28. Improved managements can make significant contribution for food security and sustainable development. We need greater understanding of interactions among soil, crop, and environment, including processes governing the relationships among agricultural inputs, soil quality, climate, and crop productivity. Summary
  29. 29. Acknowledgements -- Ph D students in my group, collaborators in National ISSM Network in China -- MoA, MoST and NSFC Thanks for coming and listening!
  30. 30. Varieties NH 3 volatilizationrespondrate(%) 0 20 40 60 80 (n=18) (n=143) (n=108)(n=10) Maize old new old new Wheat Nleachingrespondrate(%) 0 20 40 60 80 (n=80) (n=36) (n=66) (n=28) Maize Wheat old old new Varieties new 2 0 2 4 6 8 (n=152) old (n=138) (n=33) Maize Wheat (n=23) new old new Varieties -9% -21% -64% -69% -33% -39% N2O emission N leaching NH3 volatilization Breeding vs Nr losses
  31. 31. Why did farmers apply so much N fertilizer in China?  Most extension staff and farmers believed “more fertilizer and higher grain yields” About 67% of farmers add excessive N fertilizer for high grain yields; About 45% of farmers add excessive N fertilizer for soil fertility. Small-scale farming with high variation, and poor infrastructure in the extension service around 30% of fertilization information from the fertilizer dealer, 30% from their neighbors, 30% from experience only <10% from extension services High off-farm incomes and relatively low retail prices of N fertilizers (with government subsidies for production and transportation).
  32. 32. National campaign (2006-2015) DesignedISSM-based management practices Interview local experts and Lead farmers Area-applicablerecommendations Crop ecophysiology (crop canopy and solar radiation use, dry matter accumulation, nutrient demand) Soil biogeochemistry (nutrient availability, losses, soil fertility, fertilizer inputs) ResearchNetworks (1,152) Implement through on-farm trials Central government Governmentalpersonnel (65,420) Province County (Policy, campaign and projects) Company's headquarters Agribusinesspersonnel (174,530) Sale man retail dealers (Supply and market support) Smallholder farmers (20.9 millionfarmers) (Lead farmers, Farmer co-operatives, etc) 6.1 Million ha30.8 Million ha 0.8 Million ha
  33. 33. (Maize, n = 2.89 millions) Nutrient rate 205 kg N ha-1 75 kg P2O5 ha-1 46 kg K2O ha-1 Grain yield 7.24 Mg ha-1 Estimated nutrient balance 20.8 kg P2O5 ha-1 6.3 kg K2O ha-1 74 kg N ha-1 70% straw return

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