Regional shifts in agricultural land use and crop production in China: an empirical redesign of China’s agricultural regions

Authors: Gregory Veeck*, Western Michigan University
Topics: Agricultural Geography, China, Land Use
Keywords: China, agriculture, Asia agriculture
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Roosevelt 4.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


A growing economy, along with changing diets and shifting global trade conditions, has altered China’s farm sector in many ways. Greater demand for meat, fish, fruits and vegetables has shifted land allocations from traditional grain production systems such as rice-wheat double cropping or staple crops such as cotton, tobacco and sugar cane and beets to more specialized cropping systems that include dramatic expansions in single-season maize, and relay-cropped vegetables. Area sown to maize now claims the highest proportion of the nation’s total, since displacing rice in 2007. Maize was sown to 15% of the national total in 1997 but rose to 22% in 2016, even as total sown area increased by 8.24% over this period. Area sown to vegetables increased from 7% of total in 1996 to 13% in 2016. While biofuel production, and industrial processing claim a small share of the maize, most is used, in conjunction with soy imports, to support the fast expanding husbandry sector heavily focused on pork. National meat production increased by 86% just from 1996 to 2016 with pork accounting for 62% of total as specialized large-scale maize-hog production centers are developing in several key provinces. These changes in crop selection and commensurate new production systems meeting the needs of increasingly diverse consumers are not evenly distributed across China’s agricultural regions. Older schema no longer apply. In this article, cluster analyses and related quantitative measures are used to develop contemporary agricultural regions reflecting the dynamic contemporary state of the nation’s farm sector.

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