Fujian's innovations lead nation's quest for food security

Under Xi's guidance, province is leveraging its natural advantages, advancing techniques

By LI LEI and HU MEIDONG in Fuzhou | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-05-14 07:23
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A fish farmer selects fish for his customers in Ningde, Fujian province. HU MEIDONG/CHINA DAILY

As China broadens its food resources and explores new protein and carbohydrate sources, Fujian province has emerged as a valuable learning hub.

With limited arable land and frequent typhoons, the coastal province first learned to source food from its rugged terrain and vast waters when President Xi Jinping worked as a senior official in Fujian from 1985 to 2002.

In recent decades, Fujian has evolved into a significant supplier of seafood, vegetables and various edible fungi. The success belies its struggles with food self-sufficiency during rapid urbanization in the early 1990s.

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"After China's reform and opening-up, urbanization accelerated in Fujian and construction encroached on a lot of farmland," said Ye Xiaojian, who oversees a museum in Fuzhou, the provincial capital, which is dedicated to marking the province's gradual progress toward food self-sufficiency in the 1990s.

"The decrease (in farmland), coupled with a rise in the urban population, resulted in difficulties in ensuring the supply of groceries at the time," he said.

A local saying inscribed on a billboard in the museum summed up Fujian's harsh farming conditions. It reads: "Eighty percent of the land mass is rolling mountains, and one major river flows across Fujian where minimum croplands can be found".

Ye added: "We often suffer from the onslaught of typhoons and floods. So, generally speaking, after floods there would always be a spike in grocery prices in the 1990s."

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