Does farmland rental contribute to reduction of agrochemical use? A case of grain production in Gansu province, China

Ying Liu, Chenggang Wang, Zeng Tang, Zhibiao Nan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

As a consequence of the new strategy to boost productivity capacity and ensure food security, China's farmland rental market is developing rapidly, and its impacts on agricultural productivity have been extensively studied. However, the impacts of farmland rental on food safety have not been considered. The aim of this study was to determine the causal effects of farmland rental on fertilizer and pesticide use in wheat and maize production and evaluate the potential effects of this activity on food safety. Survey data obtained from 900 households in eight counties in Gansu province were used in this study, and the propensity score matching (PSM) method was employed to solve selection bias problems with the data. The results showed that farmland rental significantly reduced fertilizer and pesticide use in wheat and maize production, implying a potential reduction in heavy metal contamination of food and drinking water as well as less pesticide residues-remaining in food and contamination of environment. Also, households renting land were more likely to adopt new agricultural technologies and management methods and to acquire more agricultural acknowledges and information than those not renting land and renting out land. Thus, farmland rental is a benefit to the application of new agricultural technologies and management methods, to rational use of agrochemicals, and finally to food safety and environmental conservation. Policies such as encouraging farmland rental, enhancing education of farmers, improving technological innovation, and providing better information transfer should help ensure not only "enough food" but also "safe food".

Original languageEnglish
Article number2402
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

Keywords

  • Environmental conservation
  • Farmland rental
  • Fertilizer use
  • Food safety
  • Food security
  • Land consolidation
  • Pesticide use
  • Propensity score matching

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