News Release

How does China’s Agricultural Green Development promote the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals?

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Higher Education Press

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Credit: Jianjie ZHANG , Xiangwen FAN, Ling LIU , Lin MA, Zhaohai BAI, Wenqi MA

Against the backdrop of global challenges such as climate change, diminishing natural resources, and the need to feed a growing population, the imperative for fostering worldwide agricultural sustainability has reached unprecedented levels. China’s Agricultural Green Development (AGD) serves as an important model for global sustainable agricultural development. What advantages does this model offer in terms of concept and implementation path compared to other international sustainable agriculture initiatives? What is the relationship between AGD and the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and how significant is its contribution to achieving the SDGs?

Prof. Wenqi Ma and his research team at Hebei Agricultural University have conducted a comprehensive comparative analysis by mapping the indicator system of AGD to the framework of the SDGs. This comparison not only highlights the compatibility of AGD with international standards, providing a clear path for China’s agriculture to achieve environmental sustainability, economic viability, and social equity, but also underscores China’s commitment and efforts towards sustainable agricultural transformation. The team employed a comprehensive analytical framework to evaluate the performance indicators of AGD, such as improvements in agricultural productivity, resource efficiency, pollution reduction, and socio-economic benefits. The methodological innovation lies in its specificity and quantifiability, making a detailed comparison with the SDGs possible and offering a replicable model for other countries.

The study found that AGD is closely related to 10 of the 17 SDGs, especially those focused on eradicating extreme poverty, achieving zero hunger, ensuring clean water and sanitation, and taking action on climate change. The design of China’s AGD indicator system is more specific and quantifiable, better aligning with the specific background and needs of Chinese agricultural development, allowing for more precise measurements in assessing the progress towards AGD goals. The authors further explored the historical evolution of China’s AGD, revealing significant progress in addressing food security, improving agricultural productivity, and enhancing rural living standards. However, these achievements have also been accompanied by high-intensity resource inputs, such as the overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, raising concerns about agricultural sustainability. Temporal changes in environmental indicators show that the excessive use of nitrogen fertilizers has exacerbated the emissions of ammonia and nitrous oxide as well as water pollution, and agricultural greenhouse gas emissions have increased. Compared to developed countries, there is still room for improvement in China’s agricultural production efficiency, particularly in terms of resource input and environmental management levels, indicating that the management and efficiency of agricultural inputs and resource use urgently need to be improved and enhanced. Indeed, the journey toward transforming China’s agriculture through AGD is expected to be lengthy and challenging.

This study not only points the way for China’s green agricultural transformation but also provides invaluable insights for the global achievement of the SDGs. By aligning AGD to the SDGs, it highlights the interconnections between environmental management, economic growth, and social welfare within AGD. As the global community strives to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, China’s AGD offers a promising blueprint for sustainable agricultural development. The research team calls for continued innovation, research, and international cooperation to address the challenges of agricultural sustainability.

This research was published on the journal of Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering in Volume 11, Issue 1, 2024, DOI: 10.15302/J-FASE-2024548.


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