Food legume production in China

Published Date
April 30, 2017
Journal Article
Food legume production in China
Ling Li
Tao Yang, Rong Liu, Bob Redden, Fouad Maalouf, Xuxiao Zong

Food legumes comprise all legumes grown for human food in China as either dry grains or
vegetables, except for soybean and groundnut. China has a vast territory with complex
ecological conditions. Rotation, intercropping, and mixed cropping involving pulses are
normal cropping systems in China. Whether indigenous or introduced crops, pulses have
played an important role in Chinese cropping systems and made an important contribution
to food resources for humans since ancient times. The six major food legume species (pea,
faba bean, common bean, mung bean, adzuki bean, and cowpea) are the most well-known
pulses in China, as well as those with more local distributions; runner bean, lima bean,
chickpea, lentil, grass pea, lupine, rice bean, black gram, hyacinth bean, pigeon pea, velvet
bean, winged bean, guar bean, sword bean, and jack bean. China has remained the world's
leading producer of peas, faba beans, mung beans, and adzuki beans in recent decades, as
documented by FAO statistics and China Agriculture Statistical Reports. The demand for
food legumes as a healthy food will markedly increase with the improvement of living
standards in China. Since China officially joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in
2001, imports of pea from Canada and Australia have rapidly increased, resulting in reduced
prices for dry pea and other food legumes. With reduced profits for food legume crops, their
sowing area and total production has decreased within China. At the same time, the rising
consumer demand for vegetable food legumes as a healthy food has led to attractive market
prices and sharp production increases in China. Vegetable food legumes have reduced
growing duration and enable flexibility in cropping systems. In the future, production of dry
food legumes will range from stable to slowly decreasing, while production of vegetable
food legumes will continue to increase.

Ling Li, Tao Yang, Rong Liu, Bob Redden, Fouad Maalouf, Xuxiao Zong. (30/4/2017). Food legume production in China. The Crop Journal, 5 (2), pp. 115-126.
cropping systems