Officials tout success in reducing fertilizer use in province

Officials in Shandong said they remained committed to preventing growth in fertilizer use and that applications in the province had fallen by 15.7% between 2017 and 2021. This compares to a national drop of 13.9% over the same period.

China has one of the highest rates of fertilizer applications in the world with the World Bank estimating that the country used 465 kilograms per hectare of arable land at its peak in 2014. In comparison, that year the US used 128 kg/ha.

Reigning in fertilizer use has been a government priority in recent years with over-applications causing damage to the soil. Additionally, reducing fertilizer use is also seen as a way to increase self-sufficiency in agriculture.

The past 18 months have seen China cutting off urea exports due to a domestic energy crunch, and two of its three largest sources of imported fertilizer, Belarus and Russia, facing various sanctions.

Shandong’s Ministry of Agriculture said it was continuing to increase demonstration plots and engaging with local farmers on more scientific applications of fertilizer to prevent overuse.