[Excerpt] Agriculture should provide safe and nutritious food to people. In the People’s Republic of China (PRC ) and many other developing members of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), agriculture is also the main source of income for rural residents. Yet as compared with the total labor force absorption, the contribution of agriculture to gross domestic product is very small, suggesting lower productivity, often resulting in poverty.
Recognizing the invaluable contribution of agriculture to the PRC ’s development, the government has been prioritizing agricultural modernization in its policy agenda with an aim to further improve the agricultural sector’s productivity and efficiency.
ADB’s support to the sustainable development of agriculture in the PRC covers broad areas ranging from irrigation infrastructure and farmland upgrading to agribusiness development and food safety.
The Dryland Sustainable Agriculture project commenced in 2009 with ADB assistance supports the development of partnerships between private agro-enterprises and farmers using contract farming arrangements to strengthen farm productivity, food production, and processing capacity in 27 counties in Gansu, Henan, and Shandong provinces.
After 6 years, the project has delivered considerable amount of outputs in terms of facilities established and farmers engaged, showing promise in achieving its outcome.
Concurring with the request from the Ministry of Agriculture, the project executing agency, ADB provided a grant to study the experiences arising from the project with respect to developing sustainable farmer–enterprise partnerships particularly contract farming models. Equally important, the study examines the issues involved in current contract farming practices and recommends policies that may help resolve them.