China to replace 20 percent chemical fertilisers with organic fertilisers by 2020 03-17-2017

In the progress of establishing a more sustainable agriculture and stop the rising consumption of chemical pesticides and fertilisers, China’s government has revealed the plans to replace the chemical fertilisers used for tea, fruits, and vegetables with organic fertilisers. This policy should lower the dependence of China’s farmers on chemical fertilisers and increase efforts against public health risks.

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According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China (MOA), the use of organic fertilisers as replacement of chemical fertilisers is one of the key points in China’s agricultural supply-side structural reform. The plants which are the main target for the trial fertiliser-replacement program are fruits, vegetables, and tea crops.

Chinese farmers are applying about 70 percent more chemicals on their crops than the rest of the world, according to Global Times. Hence, China’s government is increasing efforts for years to promote a green agriculture and educate the farmers in the better use of crop protection. After all, the excessive use of chemical fertilisers has damaged the soil, polluted the land and put consumer’s health at risk.

The MOA has set the goal to 50% replacement of chemical fertilisers by organic fertilisers for the aforementioned crops. Due to the fact, that the fertilisers for fruits, vegetables, and tea are accounting for about 40% of total fertiliser use in China nowadays, the efforts of China’s government will lead to a total replacement of chemical fertilisers by 20% until 2020.

The Data from the MOA reveals a severe damage on China’s land which is exposed to excessive chemical usage. This has led to a degeneration in about 40% of the workable land in the country up to present.

According to market intelligence firm CCM, the strategy will start with several pilot projects in China’s most important planting areas. The most critical areas hereby should replace chemical fertilisers by more than 50% till 2020, while lesser important planting areas are supposed to increase the use of organic fertilisers by about 20%.

After the demonstration period in 2020, China wants to expand the replacement of chemical fertilisers to the whole country. This would leave to a massive decreasing usage of chemical fertilisers in China, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. After all, China used 60.32 million tonnes of fertilisers in 2015. The amount used for vegetables, fruits, and crops was accounting for hereby for 24 million tonnes, thus 40% of the total usage. If China is able to replace chemical fertilisers by 50% or more, a large reduction of 20% in total will be the result.


However, the MOA is facing several difficulties to realise the plan in the near future. Although China is producing an annual amount of 16 million tonnes of organic fertiliser, only 5 % are effective nutrient. Hence, it is impossible to replace the aimed 5 million tonnes of chemical fertilisers with barely 800,000 thousand usable organic fertilisers. Also, chemical fertilisers still are much cheaper than their green alternatives and also easier to transport. After all, the production of the same number of nutrients for organic fertilisers costs about 400% of their chemical counterparts.

In addition to that, the main organic fertilisers are made of livestock manure, which is containing a dangerous number of antibiotics, which are able to get into the crops for human consumption.

According to CCM, only an increasing focus on enhancing the production of commercial organic fertiliser can effectively improve China’s organic fertiliser situation and makes the plan likely to be realised in the near future. Other ways of increasing organic fertiliser production, like straw incorporation, compost, and green manure, obtain a much lesser opportunity for effective organic fertiliser growth.

What’s more, the worldwide bio fertiliser market is growing fast at present. Experts are estimating the market value by USD1.66 billion till 2022. The huge growth is the result of an increasing awareness towards healthy and sustainable agriculture, as well as rising chemicals prices in the market. Furthermore, the world market for organic food is booming as well, elevating the demand for organic fertiliser in general. The organic food market is even rising faster than fertilisers and may hit a value of USD305 million in 2022.

About CCM

CCM is the leading market intelligence provider for China’s agriculture, chemicals, food & ingredients and life science markets.

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