Land scarcity and fragmentation
• Arable land of China is only 10% of the total arable land of the World (World Bank data
and projections)
• Population in China in 2012 was 20% of the world’s population (World Bank data and
• In China arable land per capita in 2011 was around 0.08 hectares while the world
average was 0.20 hectares (World Bank data and projections)
• Over the period 1978-1996 the loss of cultivated land due to urban expansion has
been 0.2 million hectares
• Over the period 1996-2008 cultivated land has reduced of around 8.3 million hectares,
which correspond to 6.4% of total farmland in China
• During the same period rural population decreased by 129 million, however rural
settlements increased by 100,000 hectares
• Fragmentation of arable land:
the average plot size in China is estimated between 0.4 and 1.2 hectares
rural settlements are scattered
• According to the China’s 12th-FYP, farmland will be maintained at 1.818 billion mu
(approximately 121,260,600 hectares), over the period 2010-2015 to tackle food
security and arable land scarcity
Land consolidation
• Due to serious farmland reductions between 1986 and 1996, in 1997 land
consolidation was promoted for the first time through the creation of the “Land
Consolidation and Rehabilitation Centre” (NLCRC), offering funds and technical advice
to farmers
• In the late 1990s, a 10-year land consolidation plan (2000-2010) was launched to
address land fragmentation and reclamation. Various land projects have been
implemented leading to an increase of agricultural land
• In 2005 the Ministry of Land and Resources introduced a policy called “Increasing vs.
Decreasing Balance”, which was formally adopted, after some years of experimentation,
in 2010 in the whole of China. Under this policy rural households willing to give up their
rural land for consolidation and land rationalization in rural areas are compensated with
urban land – from arable land consolidation to rural settlements consolidation
• Several models of rural construction and consolidation, based on “centralization”:
- Reconstruction within the village: demolition of vacant houses and reorganization
and concentration of the rural settlements
- Spatial-territory Reorganization: to merge scattered villages into a new village or
Main objectives of land consolidation in China
• Elimination of land fragmentation
• Land reclamation and soil improvement
• Improvement of the farm size and settlement patterns
Main land consolidation measures in China
• expanding the irrigated area and improving plot and irrigation and drainage
• improving farm plot configuration, including the plot size, shape, and layout,
through a suitable merging of smaller and irregular-shaped plots into larger ones
of a regular size and shape
• improving farm road systems to provide better access to plots for both workers
and machinery
• reducing fragmentation of a farmer’s land into many small, non contiguous plots
scattered in many locations
The Law of Land Administration of the People's Republic of China
(adopted on June 25, 1986) (amended on December 29, 1988 and August 29, 1998)
Article 17 (Chapter 3: General plans for the utilization of land)
People's governments at all levels shall manage to compile general plans for land uses
in accordance with the national economic and social development program,
requirements of national land consolidation and resources and environmental
protection, land supply capacity and the requirements of various construction projects.
The validity term of the general plans for land use shall be determined by the State
Article 41 (Chapter 4: Protection of cultivated land)
The State encourages land consolidation. People's governments of counties and
townships (towns) shall organize rural collective economic organizations to carry out
comprehensive consolidation of fields, water surface, roads, woods and villages
according to the general plans for the utilization of land to raise the quality of cultivated
land and increase areas for effective cultivation and improve the agricultural production
conditions and ecological environment. Local people's governments at all levels shall
adopt measures to ameliorate medium-and low-yielding land and consolidate idle and
scattered and abandoned land.

Land consolidation