China has Lost Eight Million Hectares of Farm Land in the Past Ten Years

March 18, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: March 18, 2006 12:00 am

A report from China's Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) shows that, from 1996 to 2005, the amount of cultivatable land in China has been reduced by eight million hectares, which is approximately 6.6 percent of the total arable land available. In order to slow the reduction of arable land, land management will need to protect the farmland as it has in the past.

According to a Beijing News article, MLR presented a report during the National People's Congress Resource, Conservation, and Environmentally Friendly Society press conference on March 11. The report stated that up to the end of last year, the total arable land in China was over 122 million hectares—an average of 0.093 hectares per person. This is less than 40 percent of the average world standard, 1/8 of the US average, and ½ of the India average.

The report also points out that the overall quality of existing Chinese farmland is not good. High-yielding cropland accounts for 28 percent while32 percent is low-yielding.

The report also said that it is necessary to limit land sales and prices, provide land for middle and low income housing, and reduce the amount of land for low-density luxury housing.