Economic evaluation of agricultural pollution control options for China

D. Abler

Journal of Integrative Agriculture (June 2015)

DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(14)60988-6

Abstract Environmental sustainability has become a policy priority in China. In agriculture, China has had major success in rehabilitating desertified lands through programs to convert steeply-sloped cropland to forest and limit grazing on sensitive grasslands. However, little has been done in terms of policies for agricultural nutrient management. Runoff and leaching of nutrients in chemical fertilizers and livestock manure are widely acknowledged as significant problems in China. This paper presents an evaluation of agricultural nonpoint pollution control options for China. Options analyzed include design standards (command & control), performance standards, and design and performance incentives. Evaluation criteria include economic efficiency and effectiveness, environmental impact and risk, and social criteria such as equity and food security. The evaluation indicates that the best options for China involve subsidies to farmers for changing production practices in order to reduce nonpoint emissions, combined with appropriate farmer education and technical assistance.

keywords: nonpoint pollution; agriculture; water quality; policy evaluation; China

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