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Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering >> 2021, Volume 8, Issue 4 doi: 10.15302/J-FASE-2021428


1. College of Natural Resources and Environment, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China

2. College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, National Academy of Agriculture Green Development, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China

Accepted: 2021-11-02 Available online:2021-11-19

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Loess Plateau of China is a typical dryland agricultural area. Agriculture there has transformed from food shortage toward green development over the past seven decades, and has achieved world-renowned achievements. During 1950–1980, the population increased from 42 to 77 million, increasing grain production to meet food demand of rapid population growth was the greatest challenge. Engineering measures such as terracing and check-dam were the crucial strategies to increase crop production. From 1981 to 2000, most of agronomic measures played a key role in increasing crops yield, and a series of policy support has benefited millions of smallholders. As expected, these measures and policies greatly increased crop production and basically achieved food security; but, low per capita GDP (only about 620 USD in 2000) was still a big challenge. During 2001–2015, the increase in agricultural and non-agricultural income together supported the increase in farmer income to 5781 USD·yr–1. Intensive agriculture that relies heavily on chemicals increased crop productivity by 56%. Steadfast policy support such as “Grain for Green Program” had an overwhelming advantage in protecting the natural ecological environment. In the new era, the integration of science and technology innovations, policy support and positive societal factors will be the golden key to further improve food production, protect environment, and increase smallholder income. 


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