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January 15, 2010

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Fertilizer used too much

CHINA, the world's largest grain producer and top consumer of fertilizers, should reduce its reliance on chemical fertilizers by as much as 50 percent because excessive use has resulted in serious pollution, according to a report.

"Not many people are aware that agriculture is the largest polluter in China, which should be a subject for serious concern," said Wen Tiejun, head of the School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development at Renmin University of China.

Chemical fertilizers had helped China, the world's most populous country, to feed its population despite limited farmland, but excessive application had led to low farmland efficiency and serious pollution, according to a research report issued by the school and Greenpeace yesterday.

The report said farmers, particularly in northern China, used 40 percent more fertilizers than crops needed, resulting in about 10 million tons of fertilizer every year being discharged into China's rivers and lakes.

China produced 24 percent of the world's total grain output, but its use of fertilizer accounted for about 35 percent of total global consumption. China's grain production had increased more than eight-fold from the 1960s, while use of nitrogen fertilizers had surged by about 55 times, the report said.


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