Agriculture

The photo taken on 21 March 2024 shows employees selecting vegetables for exportation at a food factory in Nantong, in eastern China's Jiangsu province. (AFP)

Tackling food fraud upstream and downstream

Journalist Chieh-Yi Cheng notes that the traditional ways of food preparation have given way to high-tech production, leading to the improvement of food quality, as well as counterfeiting methods. It now becomes a cat-and-mouse game, with the need to boost efforts in surveillance, tracing funding sources, and tracking the quantity and movement of raw materials and ingredients, in order to nip the problem in the bud.
This aerial photo taken on 1 November 2021 shows volunteers helping farmers harvest rice in Huzhuang, Jiangsu province, China. (AFP)

China’s embrace of GM crops will have global implications

Despite China’s efforts to make genetically modified organisms (GMO) technology a key plank of China’s food security, China has yet to meaningfully translate its research efforts into successful commercialisation, say academics Shaleen Khanal and Zhang Hongzhou. If China manages to overcome the various obstacles to commercialising GM crops, the global landscape of GMO governance, production and exports will be greatly changed.
Villagers sell agricultural products on train, Guizhou province, China, on 25-27 January 2024. (Screen grab from CCTV)

[Video] Farmers’ markets on China's 'slow trains': Going places

In today’s fast-paced world, China's “slow trains” remain essential. They stop at many otherwise inaccessible areas, providing transport for rural residents and a means for them to bring their agricultural products to nearby towns. Designated cabins on the train turn into makeshift farmers' markets, especially in the run-up to Chinese New Year.
A farmer fills pesticide in a drone before spraying a wheat field in Taizhou, Jiangsu province, China, on 28 February 2023. (AFP)

China's declining farmland and food self-sufficiency: Should we worry?

China’s food self-sufficiency ratio has plummeted to 76% in 2020, sparking worries of a food shortage. While the government reassures the people that food reserves are plentiful, China is highly dependent on imported food and its area of arable land is declining. China clearly needs to come up with innovative economic, social, environmental and agricultural policies if it hopes to become an “agricultural power” and avoid a food crisis.
Cooperatives seem to be making a return in China, like this one in Heilongjiang. (Internet)

Cooperatives are making a comeback. Is China preparing for combat and famine?

Cooperatives that used to manage agricultural and other daily resources in China faded away during China's reform and opening up, but recently, they were highlighted again by the state media and promoted in various regions. Chinese people are concerned if this means that the government is going to further tighten its grip on the economy or that China is preparing for the likelihood of containment and even war?
A farmer picks ears of rice left over by a paddy harvester as the region experiences a drought outside Jiujiang city, Jiangxi province, China, 27 August 2022. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Chinese netizens debate: Should China abandon the market economy for a ‘people-oriented’ economy?

Chinese agricultural economist Wen Tiejun has landed in hot water after proposing the concept of a “people-oriented” economy. Critics believe that this is moving away from China’s reform and opening up, while others see the benefits towards common prosperity. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan tells us more about the maelstrom of controversy ahead of the 20th Party Congress.
Collyer Quay in the 1950s. Directly ahead is Cavenagh Bridge built in 1870, with Anderson Bridge further on. On the right is the General Post Office of the British colonial period, today the Fullerton Hotel. As Singapore was an important international commercial port, many goods were subject to shipping tariffs, so the post office and customs department were usually connected. The post office building was named after the first Governor of the Straits Settlements, Robert Fullerton.

[Photo story] A Taiwanese collector's treasured photos of old Southeast Asia and Singapore

Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao showcases photographs of Singapore at the cusp of great change, from a more rural environment with many kelongs and farms to a bustling trade, finance and tourism hub. Through it all, the Singapore River has witnessed many of these changes, as seen in this collection.
A sprinkler irrigates a corn field to mitigate the impact of drought brought by high temperatures, in Xiliangshi village of Boai county in Jiaozuo, Henan province, China, 20 June 2022. (China Daily via Reuters)

Pandemic could stymie China’s poverty alleviation and rural revitalisation efforts

The Covid-19 pandemic has badly hit the Chinese economy, with ordinary folk bearing the brunt of the impact. Migrant workers and rural farmers have had to pivot to other fields to make ends meet, and even then the outlook is still grim. Can the authorities safeguard its efforts in poverty alleviation and rural revitalisation? Zaobao journalists Miao Zong-Han and Zeng Shi look into the issue.
A farmer seeds rice with a seeding machine in a field in Wuyi, in Zhejiang province, China, on 12 April 2022. (AFP)

Does China have a food security problem?

After its major reforms in late 2013, China adopted a dual approach to safeguard its food security. But it has faced several challenges along the way. To cope with the situation, Beijing is diving deep into agricultural science and technology, exploring future foods, mining the potential of “blue territories” and getting local governments and citizens on board. But the proof of the pudding will very much be in tackling extreme weather and other external events.