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China is experiencing strong economic growth. But disparities between rural and urban regions are all too apparent, and have resulted in a growing social gap. Currently 70 per cent of China's enormous population lives in the countryside, and about half of these are farmers.

Looking towards 2050, even assuming that the Chinese population stabilises at 1.6 billion, demand for food is set to double. With the technology that is currently being used, it will be impossible to increase production to the level that is needed.

In this article, T.C. Tso reviews China's efforts to increase food production, and argues that the country must increase its investment in scientific and agricultural research to 3 per cent of gross domestic product (from its present level of 0.9 per cent) in order to solve its agricultural problems.

Link to full article in Nature

Reference: Nature 428, 217 (2004)