Agriculture in rural China: challenges for climate change adaptation (16480)
Rural China is in the midst of significant structural change relating to increased agricultural specialisation, land reform, rural-to-urban migration and renewed central government investment in farmers, villages and agriculture. Against the backdrop of these processes, this paper considers the challenges facing rural China in adapting small-scale agriculture to climate change. While current and future climate change impacts on China’s key grain crops (corn, wheat and rice) are relatively well understood, less attention has been paid to impacts on other more specialised forms of agriculture, such as fruit production, and the barriers to adaptation in these sectors.
This paper will introduce China’s current high-level adaptation policies and what they say about agriculture and farmers. It will then draw on a case study of an apple-growing county in North China, which is highly exposed to drought and rising temperatures, to argue that there is a clear disconnect between current policy discourses and the reality of adaptation on the ground. Interviews with farmers and local government officials in the case study identified a number of challenges for agricultural adaptation at this local scale. A number of these will be discussed, including financial and human capital constraints at the household level, local government resource constraints and a rural development strategy biased towards “model” villages.