Agricultural Development Led to Poverty Reduction, While Climate Change Drags It
On this second day of the Seminar, participants were introduced the agricultural development achievements, the contributing policies as well challenges and prospects for China’s agriculture by Dr. Jikun Huang, Director for China Center for Agricultural Policy. Dr. Cao Wendao from the World Bank China Office presented the climate challenges context and implications on agriculture and environment, while introduced the experiences gained from decade long implementation of climate smart rural development and poverty reduction approached in the Loess Plateau.
Participants discussed with great interest at the seminar the China experience as well challenge of maintaining smallholder agriculture and the learning for countries of similar nature. Improving produce quality and safety, maintaining labor intensive production were among the coping strategies concurred. Participants were extremely impressed by the contribution of technology to agriculture in China for securing the food security of the huge population. While China’s rural reform started 1978 had greatly increased the agricultural productivity from the people factor, agro-technology has sustained it since the mid 1980s, including the biotechnologies in the last 10 years.
China’s overall strategy of maintaining labor intensive and high value agriculture while giving less importance on land and water demanding crops to maintain comparative advantages of its agricultural sector was also informative to the participants.
China’s policy making process was also found interesting, which is largely based on piloting and testing in small scale and large scale adoption when effects and applicability is confirmed. The process from proposing, piloting and implementing policy measures was also found comparatively short so that they don’t stay with the political debate and approval process for long.
Questions relating to private sector investment in Agriculture, off-farm sector development, challenge of realizing economy of scale through such as agricultural mechanization in the smallholder agriculture as well government policy on forestry was also raised and discussed.
Challenges from climate change drew close attention of participants. The participants were introduced and actively participated in discussions on the available coping strategies in terms of protection, adaptation and response to climate changes. The holistic approach from planning, implementation, coordination to monitoring and evaluation in the watershed management in Loess Plateau region as well the investment and sustainability mechanism provided a strategic thinking to participants for addressing similar challenges in the IFAD project areas.
The concentration and engagement demonstrated by the participants in the workshop sessions was really impressive. Two thumbs up !