Research Articles

Zero Growth of Chemical Fertilizer and Pesticide Use:China’s Objectives, Progress and Challenges

  • 1. Research Center for Rural Economy, Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing 100810, China;
    2. Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University and Research, 6700 EW Wageningen, Netherlands;
    3. Tibet Agriculture and Animal Husbandry University, Nyingchi, Tibet 860000, China

Received date: 2017-06-30

  Revised date: 2017-09-15

  Online published: 2018-01-26

Supported by

The frame of National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016ZY0600374704)


In 2015 China’s Ministry of Agriculture introduced two Actions that seek to achieve zero growth in the use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides by 2020. Success in reaching these targets will help control agricultural non-point source pollution, increase cost efficiency, energy conservation and emission reductions, help to ensure the safety and quality of the national grain supply and agricultural products and the safety of the ecological environment, and realize the sustainable development of agriculture. However, successful implementation will be crucial. This article considers the main contents of the Actions and analyzes their feasibility from the perspectives of policy formulation, local practices, technical support and achievements. We identify problems and challenges and suggest that zero growth of chemical fertilizer and pesticide use can be achieved by undertaking basic research on the factors that shape the use of farm chemicals, making improvements to the monitoring and statistical system for chemical fertilizer and pesticide use, setting up demonstration projects and enhancing policies formulated to reduce chemical fertilizer and pesticide use.

Cite this article

JIN Shuqin, ZHOU Fang . Zero Growth of Chemical Fertilizer and Pesticide Use:China’s Objectives, Progress and Challenges[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2018 , 9(1) : 50 -58 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2018.01.006


[1] Fang Jing, Liu Yanfang. 2018. Pesticide-related food safety risk: farmers’ self-protection and food safety co-governance. Journal of Resources and Ecology , 9(1): 59-65.
[2] Fischer G, Winiwarter W, Ermolieva T, et al . 2010. Integrated modeling framework for assessment and mitigation of nitrogen pollution from agriculture: Concept and case study for China. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment , 136(1/2): 116 - 124.
[3] JinShuqin, Zhou Fang, Shen Guiyin. 2015. Reduced fertilizer path research under the dual goals of agricultural development and non-point source pollution control. Environmental Protection , 43(8): 50-53. (in Chinese)
[4] Jin Shuqin, Bettina Bluemling, Arthur P.J. Mol. 2015. Information, trust and pesticide overuse: Interactions between retailers and cotton farmers inChina. NJAS-Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences ,(72-73): 23-32.
[5] Lai Li, Huang Xianjin, Wang Hui, et al . 2009. Estimation of environment cost of fertilization in China. Acta Pedologica Sinica ,46(1):63 - 69. (in Chinese)
[6] Ministry of Agriculture. 2015. Circular of the Ministry of Agriculture on printing and distributing the Action Plan for Zero Growth in the Application of Fertilizer by 2020 and the Action Plan for Zero Growth in the Application of Pesticide by 2020. tzgg/tz/201503/t20150318_4444765.htm.
[7] Shen Neng, Zhang Bin. 2015. Can agricultural growth improve environmental productivity? - Positive test of conditional "environmental Kuznets curve". China's Rural Economy , (7): 17 - 30. (in Chinese)
[8] Wang Q B, Halbrendt C, Johnson S R. 1996. Grain production and environmental management in China’s fertilizer economy. Journal of Environmental Management , 47(3): 283 - 296.
[9] Wang Xianxia, Zhang Yunxi. 2018. Farmers’ Dual Roles in Food Safety: Perceptions and Countermeasures . Journal of Resources and Ecology , 9(1): 78-84.
[10] Wang Zuli, Xiao Haifeng. 2008. Analysis on effects of chemical fertilizer on increase of grain yield. Agricultural Economic Issues , (8): 65 - 68. (in Chinese)
[11] Xin Liangjie, Li Xiubin, Tan Minghong. 2013.Temporal and spatial evolution structure of China's agricultural chemical fertilizers in 2000 - 2010. Journal of China Agricultural University , 18(5): 21 - 27. (in Chinese)
[12] Xing G.X., Zhu Z.X.. 2000. An assessment of N loss from agricultural fields to the environment in China. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems , 57(1): 67 - 73.
[13] Zhang Qiangxin. 2006. Technical specification for deep application of chemical fertilizer. Bulletin of Agricultural Science and Technology ,(2): 25. (in Chinese)