MLS 1.4: Vegetable

Innovations on P management in Dashigezhuang village   (Version 1*, April 23, 2013)

The high density of population and increasing world population as well as diet change are asking for high and increasing food procuction. Thus, the unproportional distribution of necessary resources is a crucial issue at the global level. Especially the available cropland per capita shows great disparity among countries, which can be reflected in consumption rates: While China has only 0.08 ha per capita of available cropland, leading to a consumption rate of 785 kg*yr-1 of agriculture products, U.S citizens have 0.5 ha per capita resulting in a consumption of 1,481 kg*yr-1.

This situation constitutes a bottle neck for China in the challenge of satisfying their great demand of agricultural products on a very limited extent of arable land. Under consideration of these facts, vegetable gardening is one promising approach addressing the challenge of producing a great amount on a relatively small area. However, Chinese vegetable growers routinely apply large amounts of organic manure as well as chemical fertilizers, with total phosphorus (P) application rates exceeding P removals by several folds in harvested produce. These high application rates have two negative aspects. They led to negative impacts on a large share of inland lakes, which have been exposed to eutrophication as well as to an economically inefficient use of fertilizers concerning small-scale farmers.

Due to this, China is not only the largest phosphorus user, but also the largest producer. The country holds about 20% of the world population, yet consumes 40% of world fertilizers. In accordance to its exposure, China plays a key role in the discovery of efficiency increasing technologies and procedures in P management. The Mutual-Learning Session (MLS) 1.4 of the Global TraPs world conference on innovations on P management in Dashigezhuang village focuses on the P (over) use of small-scale vegetable farming.

Accordingly the following key questions are about to discuss: “How to improve P fertilizer use”, and “how can small-scale farmers benefit from collaboration with science in particular transdisciplinary processes or the backyard approach”. For that reason the MLS is structured in two parts: First, a visit at a small community in the vicinity of Beijing to get a direct impression on how the vegetable production and use of fertilizers look like. Second, a depth discussion aligned with the key questions that shall lead to the main objective of the MLS - innovative approaches of P management in the vegetable base of Dashigezhuang village.


* This is the first version of the description of what will be dealt with in the MLS 1.1 Manure and provides only a rough description of what will be discussed. A group of practitioners and scientists are currently revising this abstract and composing a booklet which will prepare all participants for the MLS on June 18. Please contact Colin Bien <>, member of the TD Support team or Anh Pallas, Science manager of Global TraPs if you want to join <>