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China / Society

Five-year plan targets pollution in rural areas

By Xu Wei (China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-15 07:17

The excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides is increasing agricultural pollution in China, a senior official said on Tuesday, as the country's agricultural authority launched a five-year action plan to curb pollution in rural areas.

Zhang Taolin, vice-minister of agriculture, told a news conference on Tuesday that the pollution caused by excessive use of fertilizers is increasing in the country's central and eastern areas.

"The problem is more severe in areas cultivating fruits and vegetables, with the expansion of those areas in recent years," he said.

China has emerged as the world's largest producer of fruits and vegetables. It provides 20 percent of the world's fruit and 50 percent of its vegetables, according to the 2013 Statistical Yearbook of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization.

In the five-year program, made public on Monday, the Ministry of Agriculture said it is targeting more than 90 percent of farmland in China using formulated fertilizers. It will implement soil tests to determine how much and what type of fertilizers are needed, and has set a target of a zero increase in the use of fertilizers and pesticides by 2020.

Qian Keming, chief economist at the Ministry of Agriculture and a political adviser, said at this year's annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference that China uses about 35 percent of the world's fertilizers, more than the amount used by the United States and India combined.

The plan sets a target efficiency rate for fertilizers and pesticides of at least 40 percent by 2020.

Five-year plan targets pollution in rural areas

The current efficiency rate of fertilizers is about 35 percent, which is 10 to 20 percent below the average