This paper has three aims. First, to examine how the negative environmental consequences of intensive agriculture have driven China and the UK to shift away from narrowly focused farm output policies and adopt more holistic green development pathways. Second, to explore the policy objectives they have in common. Third, to assess the numerous opportunities for joint research and knowledge sharing through the Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Network and other existing institutional mechanisms. The intensification of agricultural production in the UK started several decades earlier than in China as did the negative environmental consequences of the farm practices. However, their strategies and policies for sustainable intensification and green development have much in common. These are set out in two main documents: the Chinese State Council guidelines for green agriculture and the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 25 Year Environment Plan. There are substantial mutual advantages from greater collaboration on problem identification and monitoring; the development of appropriate technological and management responses and the formulation of sound policies. To achieve this potential, it is recommended that further thought be given to how best to bring together all of the key stakeholders along the whole food chain.
This paper reviews recent developments in crop science that can be the basis of a revolution in the global food system but it is also emphasized that such a revolution requires more than changes in food production and supply. We must more effectively feed a growing global population with a healthy diet while also defining and delivering the kinds of sustainable food systems that will minimise damage to our planet. There are exciting new developments in crop production biology but much existing crop science can be exploited to increase yields with the aid of a knowledge exchange (KE) framework requiring the use of new technology now available to most people across the globe. We discuss novel approaches at both the plant and the crop level that will enhance nutrient and water productivity and we also outline ways in which energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be reduced and labor shortages combatted. Exploitation of new biology and new engineering opportunities will require development of public-private partnerships and collaborations across the disciplines to allow us to move effectively from discovery science to practical application. It is also important that consumers contribute to the debate over proposed changes to food and farming and so effective KE mechanisms are required between all relevant communities.
Green food in China refers to a wide array of primary and processed agricultural products that are safe, nutritious and of high quality for human consumption. Green food has been certified and produced following the principle of sustainability since the 1990s, making historic achievements in providing quality food, protecting the environment, increasing farmer income, and nurturing agricultural brands over the past 30 years in China. Today, the green food industry enters a steady-growth stage in terms of cultivation area, product number and sales. This article summarizes the history of the development of green food in China and current achievements, analyze major challenges that may hamper further development of the industry, and propose strategies to address these challenges, i.e., optimization of the food supply chain, deep food processing, and utilization of food wastes.
Transgenic ruminants are a valuable resource for both animal breeding and biomedical research. The development of transgenic breeding is proceeding slowly, because it suffers from low efficiency of gene transfer and possible safety problems from uncontrolled random integration. However, new breeding methods combined with genome editing and somatic cell nuclear transfer or microinjection can offer an economic and efficient way to produce gene-edited ruminants, which can serve as bioreactors or have improved disease resistance, animal welfare and product quality. Recent advances in precise genome editing technologies, especially clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/Cas9 nucleases, are enabling the systematic development of gene-edited ruminant production. This review covers the development of gene-edited ruminants, the particulars of site-specific engineered nucleases and the state of the art and new insights into practical applications and social acceptance of genome editing technology in ruminants. It is concluded that the production of gene-edited ruminants is feasible and through improvements in genome editing technology it is possible to help feed the world.
In recent years there has been a veritable explosion in the use of genome editors to create site-specific changes, both in vitro and in vivo, to the genomes of a multitude of species for both basic research and biotechnology. Livestock, which form a vital component of most societies, are no exception. While selective breeding has been hugely successful at enhancing some production traits, the rate of progress is often slow and is limited to variants that exist within the breeding population. Genome editing provides the potential to move traits between breeds, in a single generation, with no impact on existing productivity or to develop de novo phenotypes that tackle intractable issues such as disease. As such, genome editors provide huge potential for ongoing livestock development programs in light of increased demand and disease challenge. This review will highlight some of the more notable agricultural applications of this technology in livestock.
Farmers are the key agents who manage land and water. Agriculture Green Development (AGD) requires a transformation in farming from high resource consumption and environmental cost to sustainable intensification with high productivity, high resource use efficiency and low environmental risk. This paper analyzes the public policy challenge of AGD and makes the case for a location-sensitive policy mix made up of regulation, advice provision, voluntarism and targeted incentives. The public agricultural extension service in China is a key resource, but one that requires reorientation and reform with the aim of better balancing high farm productivity with environmental protection.
Following its 40-year reform and ‘Open Door’ policy, China has recently proposed a new approach to green development and rural revitalization—the idea of Agriculture Green Development (AGD), with the key feature of creating a green eco-environment. In this mini-review we introduce the definition, theory, framework and major components of a green eco-environment as a key part of the AGD. We define a green eco-environment as including four key elements or measures: (1) a green eco-environmental indicator system; (2) environmental monitoring and warning networks; (3) emission standards and environmental thresholds for key pollutants; (4) emission controls and pollution remediation technologies. We have used Quzhou County (a typical county in the center of the North China Plain) as an example to show how detailed air, water and soil monitoring networks, as well as improved farmer practices and pollution control measures (especially ammonia emission mitigation and PM2.5 pollution reduction), can begin to create a green eco-environment in China and that AGD is possible. We conclude by stressing the need to improve the framework and practice for a green eco-environment, especially the importance of linking proposals and practices for a green eco-environment with the United Nations high priority Sustainable Development Goals.
Globally, the area of land cultivated with genetically modified (GM) crops has increased a thousand-fold over the last two decades. Although this technology has become important for food production, the regulatory frameworks that underpin these outcomes are based on a list of requirements for a risk assessment that differ from country to country. In recent years, policymakers have had the opportunity to learn from the controversies over transgenics to create effective regulatory milestones for emerging technologies, allowing them to reach their potential for a more sustainable agriculture, ensuring food security. In Brazil, Law No11.105 of 24 March 2005 established a framework with four main organizations responsible for risk assessment and management. However, most of new breeding technologies did not exist at that time and were not considered in this law. In 2016, Normative Resolution No 16 of the National Biosafety Technical Commission (CTNBio) was established to address this gap based on the evaluation of the products obtained through these techniques (termed Innovative Precision Improvement Techniques in the resolution), in a case-by-case consultation system. Briefly, if the product is designated to be a genetically modified, the developer will have to go through the biosafety requirements and will be approved only after CTNBio risk assessment. If the product is designated not to be GM (for the purposes of the legislation), then it can be registered using the existing procedures. Currently, 152 GM products are commercially approved in Brazil. In 2018, CTNBio assessed the first consultation on commercial release of plants generated using the new breeding technologies and has subsequently approved six products. It is expected that many institutions would be able to participate in Brazilian and world markets, developing and introducing new biotechnological solutions and products through a more sustainable approach and without facing public disapproval, a common issue for GM crops.