Pathways Towards Sustainable Maize Production and Consumption in China: Prospects, Politics and Practices

Working Paper
  • Published 28/01/15
  • ISBN: 978-1-78118-200-0

STEPS Working Paper 72
Adrian Ely, Sam Geall and Yiching Song
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China provides a stark and globally significant illustration of how changing patterns of food production and consumption are creating negative impacts on the environment. However, China’s rapidly growing innovation capabilities and dynamic pattern of development also offer unique opportunities for system innovation towards more sustainable and resilient agri-food systems. This report discusses the technological, political and socio-cultural factors central to such system changes by exploring two contending (and not mutually-exclusive) pathways towards sustainable maize production and consumption: the first, with a focus on R&D-intensive transgenic technologies for agricultural intensification, such as phytase maize, the second, characterised by locally-driven innovation in organisational and management approaches, including agro-ecological and participatory research. These two pathways present different risks, benefits and implications for politics and practices, including changes in practices among farmers and consumers.

This is the fourth of a series of 4 reports from the STEPS affiliate project Low Carbon Innovation in China: Prospects, Politics and Practice.