Green Agriculture And Blue Water In China: Reintegrating Crop And Livestock Production For Clean Water

Maryna Strokal*, Annette B.G. Janssen, Xinping Chen, Carolien Kroeze, Fan Li, Lin Ma, Huirong Yu, Fusuo Zhang, Mengru Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Crop and livestock production are essential to maintain food security. In China, crop and livestock production were integrated in the past. Today, small backyard systems are still integrated but the larger livestock farms are landless and largely geographically separated from crop production systems. As a result, there is less recycling of animal manures and there are lower nutrient use efficiencies in the Chinese food production systems. This, in turn, results in considerable losses of nutrients, causing water pollution and harmful algal blooms in Chinese lakes, rivers and seas. To turn the tide, there is a need for agricultural "green" development for food production through reintegrating crop and livestock production. An additional wish is to turn the Chinese water systems "blue" to secure clean water for current and future generations. In this paper, current knowledge is summarized to identify promising interventions for reintegrating crop and livestock production toward clean water. Technical, social, economic, policy and environmental interventions are addressed and examples are given. The paper highlights recommended next steps to achieve "green" agriculture and "blue" water in China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2021


  • agriculture green development
  • China
  • clean water
  • crop-livestock reintegration


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