Grain for Green

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China initiated its "Grain for Green" program in 1999 as an ambitious conservation program designed to mitigate and prevent soil erosion. It is an example of Payment for ecosystem services which is helping to solve Environmental issues in China. The program is designed to retire farmland that is susceptible to soil erosion, although some farmers may go back to farming the land after the program ends. China started the Grain for Green program in the western parts of the country for example Shaanxi Province. These areas were known for their rather poorly performing economy that was affiliated with an endangered ecological environment. The environment was being further damaged by soil erosion which was a result of cultivation on sloping land as people were changing forests into farmland. Almost 151.36 Yuan was poured into the program by the Chinese government. Farmers would receive grants for turning cultivated land back into forests and pasture.

In 2007, the major part of the program was suspended except for afforestation of barren land. By the end of 2008, 8.216 million hectares of crop land had been converted to forestland. The program brought positive contribution to over 2.5 million rural households because the grants provided more income than the farmers were previously getting from cultivation. The program brought some issues up and these included the fact that the families that were already poor received much less from the government grants whilst those that were well up received more grants and yet the poor families had more land.[1]


  1. ^ 2005. Xu, Jintao and Scott Rozelle. Grain for Green: Cost-Effectiveness and Sustainability of China’s Conservation Set-Aside Program. Land Economics 81(2):247-264; doi: 10.3368/le.81.2.247

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