Nanking Embassy Files, Lot F79, 861 Agricultural Mission
Final Press Release of the China-United States Agricultural Mission
In October 1945, the National Government of the Republic of China presented to the Government of the United States a proposal for technical collaboration in agriculture and forestry.38 Following subsequent discussions of this proposal, the two Governments agreed to create a joint China-United States Agricultural Mission to outline a broad and comprehensive program for agricultural development in China.
The American members of the Mission arrived in Shanghai on June 27, 1946, where they were joined by the Chinese members. Several weeks were spent in Shanghai and Nanking conferring with officers of the Government, business men, and others. The Mission then divided into groups for travel and first-hand observation in different parts of China. During eleven weeks of travel, fourteen provinces and Taiwan were visited.
The great importance of a balanced and progressive agricultural program to the well-being of the nation is evident. Whatever affects directly the welfare of agriculture and the seventy-five percent of [Page 1285] China’s population engaged therein, affects the welfare of every citizen. Agriculture produces much of the raw materials needed by industry. Products of agricultural origin also form an important source of foreign exchange, which China will require for the purchase abroad of equipment and certain raw materials needed for the development of industry. Before the war agricultural commodities accounted for about seventy percent of the value of China’s total exports.
This Mission is convinced that agricultural production in China can be substantially increased and the welfare of the farmer advanced by the application of modern scientific knowledge to the improvement of soils, crops, livestock and farm equipment. It is also confident that the economic position of the Chinese farmer can be greatly advanced through long needed improvements in farm credit, land, tenancy, taxation and agricultural marketing.
Realizing the importance of a program broad enough to solve the deep-seated problems in the present rural situation, this Mission is presenting to the two Governments a report of its findings in which the principal recommendations are:
- That an integrated program of agricultural instruction, research and extension be developed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Education working together, which would function through six central research bureaus located at the capital, nine strong regional centers situated in the main agricultural areas of the country, and appropriate agencies of the provinces and hsien.
- That action be taken to provide more adequate farm credit and at lower cost, to assist farmers in marketing their products; to improve the conditions of tenancy wherever serious problems now exist; and to provide for a better balanced and more equitable system of land taxation.
- That there be established a single Government sponsored bank to serve agricultural credit needs, to be known as the Agricultural Bank.
- That there be established in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry a National Agricultural Regulatory Administration to enforce standardization and market regulations governing agricultural products.
- That the Government give serious consideration to ways of solving the problem created by pressure of population on the relatively limited agricultural resources of the nation which unless eased could offset the benefits of increased agricultural production and industrial development if the present trend toward population increase continues.
- That increased emphasis be placed on the construction of chemical fertilizer plants; on the development of irrigation; on the improvement of plants and animals and their protection from insects and diseases; on reforestation and the scientific management of [Page 1286] present forest stands; on the production of fruits, vegetables, and livestock to improve diets and nutrition; and on statistical services to provide current information on crop and livestock production and the market situation.
- That definite measures be initiated immediately to encourage the export of important agricultural commodities, now being seriously restricted through the present currency exchange rate and high costs of inland transportation and credit.
This Mission recognizes that time will be required to carry to completion some of its recommendations, but early results can be achieved in many parts of the program by prompt and definite action. It suggests that immediate steps be taken to expand and set up the agencies required by the program by making use of the competent personnel now available and by training additional personnel needed.
To give effect to these recommendations, substantial increases in appropriations will be required. This in the judgment of this Mission, would be a sound national investment which would promote the whole public welfare and increase the national income.