Exploring options for agricultural development : a case study in China

Zhong Jiayou

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Keywords: Linear programming; Land use model; Technology assessmen

China's agriculture faces a series of challenges, i.e. guaranteeing national food security, increasing farmer's income and reducing the adverse effects on environment and human health associated with the use of fertilizers and biocides. At the same time, the availability of resources {e.g. agricultural land) decreases. The objective of this study is to operationalize a methodology to assess the effectiveness of new crop and livestock technologies in attaining rural development goals, using Jiangxi Province as a case study area.
Cropping and livestock systems, quantified in terms of inputs and outputs, are used as the smallest unit of analysis in this study. The new, also referred to as alternative, cropping systems comprise cultivation of Super Rice varieties and introduction of site-specific nutrient management (SSNM), integrated pest management (IPM) and mechanization in rice production. In alternative livestock systems, improved animal breeds, chemical treatment of crop residues and improved management in animal husbandry are adopted. A regional land use model, based on linear programming techniques, is used to assess the contribution of these alternative cropping and livestock systems to rural development goals. The results indicate that adoption of Super Rice varieties is most effective in attaining national grain security, while integration of Super Rice with improved beef cattle fattening systems is most effective in increasing income. Competition between livestock and rice production is limited, since high quality feed can be produced in rotation with rice without requiring additional rice land, and on non-rice land. Both, SSNM and IPM are most effective in reducing adverse environmental and human health effects, but hardly improve economic returns. Mechanization of rice production strongly reduces labour requirements in agriculture, leads to higher returns to labour and provides opportunities to work off-farm. When both, alternative crop and livestock systems are adopted concurrently, the goals of grain security, increasing rural income and reducing environmental pollution can be realized simultaneously. Results of this study contribute to the formulation of agricultural policies and a research agenda aiming at stimulating rural development in China.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • van Keulen, Herman, Promotor
  • Hengsdijk, Huib, Co-promotor
Award date12 Feb 2008
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Print ISBNs9789085048244
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2008


  • land use
  • linear programming
  • rural development
  • cropping systems
  • livestock farming
  • farming systems
  • integrated pest management
  • oryza sativa
  • rice
  • jiangxi
  • china
  • technology assessment
  • nutrient management
  • modeling


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