China’s main grain crops are rice, wheat, corn, soybeans and tuber crops. Paddy rice is the major grain crop in China, grown mainly in the Yangtze River valley and southern China, and on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. Wheat accounts for slightly more than one fifth of the total output of grain, planted mainly on the North China Plain. Other cash crops including cotton, peanuts, rape, sesame, sugarcane, tea tobacco, mulberry and fruit are also distributed in different areas of China. These agricultural products have been basically in a self-sufficiency mode for both production and consumption.
Pressure comes from stipulations relating to China’s entry into the WTO, which expose the agricultural industry to greater foreign competition. Utilization of land area is not nearly as efficient in China as is developed countries which rely much more heavily on employment of mechanization, Chemicals and genetic engineering.
Though great efforts have been paid, areas needing development span the industry. Mechanized tools such as tractors, combines and processing equipment are still lacking, although Heilongjiang in China’s far northeast reports agricultural mechanization already on par with developed nations. With the exception of the Northeast, vast expanses of flat farmland are rarely found in China; planters are often forced to raise crops in small plots on whatever nooks and crannies are available, demanding a higher amount of manpower and limiting the use of efficient mechanized methods. Still, under these conditions, greater possibilities exist for mixed cropping, which can reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizers.
In the vast area of China, irrigation and water pollution are always the major issues for agriculture. Generally speaking, Northern China tends to be plagued by drought while many southern regions are susceptible to floods. Channeling of water and flood management through construction of dams and canals has already been successful and can be further implemented on a larger scale.