Each organisation signed the ‘China-UK Agricultural Green Development initiative’, ushering in a new era of international cooperation in agricultural research. The initiative pledges all signatories to work together on delivering agricultural green development through innovative scientific research, dissemination, and integration of technology and food production standards.
Although the climate, population and soil topography of the two countries are so different, both face common challenges to enable sustainable rural development, namely adjusting to an increasingly unpredictable and changing climate, reducing nitrogen emissions (which in China’s case are unregulated), and securing future food supplies. Prominent crop and agricultural scientists from both nations and the Agricultural Counsellor at the British Embassy spoke about methods for understanding and tackling these challenges including:
- building a green economy through sustainable nitrogen management
- setting standards for green foods
- mitigating non-point source pollution
- utilizing technical innovation in food production to adapt to climate change
Prof Roger Sylvester-Bradley, head of crop performance at ADAS, who presented at the forum, explained how ADAS can play a role across both countries –
ADAS is a proactive business which distils the findings of its academic partners to design and help to implement future food systems.
Working within a consortium of five UK and nine Chinese academic organisations, we are designing new productive farming systems which should dramatically lower nitrogen emissions whilst sustaining food productivity for the benefit of both the UK and China.”
Prof Sylvester-Bradley’s presentation – “Nitrogen Sustainability Criteria for Green Food” – outlined ten criteria that could be used in food certification or farm regulation to ensure nitrogen emissions reduction.