The way forward for alfalfa farmers in China: a fair price for their produce and reduced reliance on imports

A lesson for Britain

chandran nairIn January, the Financial Times highlighted the work of Chandran Nair, the founder and CEO of the Global Institute For Tomorrow (GIFT).

The basic message sent has been slightly amplified, drawing on other online sources.

gift logoThe GIFT team’s participants worked closely with leading domestic forage producer Gansu Modern Forage (GMF) on the 36th Global Leaders Programme. The company is a socially-minded enterprise which places a strong emphasis on poverty alleviation and rural development through their business model. They work closely with local government to align with and influence agricultural policy and have an expansive network of farmers and grass collectors who have benefitted from the switch to alfalfa cultivation and a fair price for their produce, reducing reliance on imports.

alfalfa mainland china

The Gansu government is undertaking a massive effort in landscaping hillsides. Dingxi Prefecture government is targeting 80,000 mu (approx 5,300 hectares) each year to promote rural development and to meet China’s growing need for arable land.

Reputable manufacturers of harvesting equipment are bidding to provide bespoke solutions for harvesting on small, irregular terraces on which alfalfa is grown. Alfalfa provides a relatively high protein content animal feed for China’s expanding livestock industry. It also gradually restores grassland ecological balance and improves soil fertility. The local variety grown in Gansu is rain fed and contributes to the revitalization of land in Loess Plateau without irrigation.

alfalfa terraces china

A pulley system has been proposed to transport harvested alfalfa from the top of the mountains to the bottom, a measure which is expected to reduce fuel usage, costs and transport time.

Supply chain integration and financing for farmers and collectors to increase quantities was also proposed. Government and private sector leaders joined the final forum in Lanzhou including senior leaders from the Ministry of Agriculture and the provincial government’s investment vehicles.

alfalfa co-op china Visiting a farmers’ cooperative just outside Shandan city

 Co-operatives have operated since the new co-op law was enacted on 1st July 2007. Model farmer cooperatives set up with aid agency assistance in Shandan County, Gansu Province, China, have increased community income through collectively improving members’ production and marketing capabilities. As well as economic benefits, the Shandan cooperatives showed improvements in family relationships, community harmony and raised status for women.

Those who wish to learn more about this project or others completed through the Global Leaders Programme (GLP) please feel free to get in touch with Mr Stryson: D: +852 3571 8104 | M: +852 9736 5595 |  Suite 1111 Cityplaza One, 1111 King’s Road, Taikoo, Hong Kong


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