China: protect home-grown solutions to food security

Compounded factors with the heatwaves, droughts and regional conflicts evidently in 2022 suffer future Chinese food security. The Nation should be protected its "home-grown" food production under climatic extremes. That is the main response to the top agenda on ensuring "food security" in COP 27.
Published in Earth & Environment
China: protect home-grown solutions to food security
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This year 2022 combined with a heatwave in the summer, plus human-induced factors such as the war between Ukraine and Russia caused huge impacts on agricultural production and directly impacted the food security issue. China is a nation with 1.4 billion and ensuring food security is one of the top priorities of the Nation.  Under the shed of current COP 27, ensuring food security is one of the top agendas.

In fact, the Nation now is also relying on importing food and major crops (soybeans, corn, wheat and barley) from overseas, thus the climatic extremes (i.e., heatwaves and drought and floods) and human-induced factors (i.e., wars and food trade tariffs) will affect future food supply. 

Our correspondence article urges the Government should protect "home-grown" food production and the treasure of NE China that contains the fertile "Black soil" with soil organic carbon (about 6%). These are favourable grounds for enhancing sustainable food sources, especially in the Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning Provinces of the country. 

We also encourage the Nation to consider the Nature-Based Solution (NBS) driven urban agriculture by considering the rapid growth of urban populations and their increasing food consumption and demands. Of course, that is impossible to ask all urban communities to go back to farms. But at least, we can take this opportunity to promote urban agriculture that combines with the NBS (e.g., via Sponge Cities), such as using a green roof, rain garden, urban park and green infrastructure to push urban agriculture forward.

Indeed, that could be integrated with the sustainable urban health concepts that co-produce the campaign on "zero pesticides and herbicides" and reducing using "chemical fertilizers" to enhance "chemicals free" agriculture that protects our environment, but also ensuring urban health by reducing toxins in food products (e.g., avoid chemicals residual on the salad and veggies). But also looking after the urban runoff (i.e., streams, rivers and lakes) that reduces the pollutants from agricultural activities (e.g., Nitrogen, Phosphorus, etc.)  that effectively avoids the eutrophication and algal bloom events in the Spring and Summer seasons. 

More importantly, the education purpose is essentially to share the "main message", urban food security is one of the most urgent issues under the future climatic extreme and human-induced factors. That said it is important to raise the issue of gaining their perception of "green capitals" among the urban communities in China. 

Now, our research team suggest "taking action" on treasuring our own "home-grown" food sources by treasuring NE China and other food production zones. Time to avoid over-relying on food imports from overseas. That is the way to secure future food security in China that responds to the top agenda at COP27. 

Feel free to read our article here: Nature 610, 448 (2022)  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-022-03289-0

Chongming Island rice field
Promotion of Urban Agriculture, a rice field, Chongming Island, Shanghai Prefecture (Photo source: Faith Chan) 

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