German-Chinese cooperation on agriculture and climate change

How does climate change impact farmers in Germany and China? And how can the agricultural sector adapt to these changes and mitigate emissions in both countries?


To elaborate on these questions a Sino-German expert team on agriculture and climate change was set up by IAK Agrar Consulting GmbH, and for our company, Sophia Lüttringhaus (Research Analyst for Agricultural Economics), was commissioned to form part. This bilateral expert exchange takes place within the sub-project “German-Chinese cooperation on Agriculture and Climate Change” by the Sino-German Center for Agriculture (DCZ) and is implemented by IAK Agrar Consulting GmbH. The project is funded by the Federal German Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) through its general agent GFA Consulting Group GmbH.

The overall project goal is to deepen the exchange between experts in both countries. Furthermore, the experts’ work shall contribute to implement more climate protection measures in the agricultural sector. This year the experts exchanged their research results and during two study tours in both countries they had the opportunity to see and discuss best practices and applied research.


In the following, Sophia Lüttringhaus describes her experiences and learnings from the bilateral exchange.

Study tour in Germany


In August 2019, we took a tour through Germany to know more about climate change impacts and how farmers can adapt and mitigate. First, we went to the Leibniz-Institut für Agrartechnik und Bioökonomie e.V. (ATB) to see how emissions from animal husbandry can be reduced. At IPK Gatersleben we received an introduction on plant breeders‘ continuous effort to create better adopted varieties to stabilize or increase yields. Also, we saw their impressive infrastructure for acclimatization dynamics and how crops develop under climate change.

At the active farm Agrarunternehmen Barnstädt E.G. we talked about wind erosion, cropping cycles and farm slurry management. At the Thünen Institute in Braunschweig we learned that from an international perspective, German agriculture has a good adaptative capacity and hence low vulnerability to climate change. Impressive was the talk on the great potential of carbon sequestration of peatland in Northern Germany. At DLG e.V. – German Agricultural Society in Bernburg we saw their highly valuable work on different ploughing techniques and how these can improve soil moisture and overall production.


For more details on the study tour please click here.


Study tour in China

What are the hot topics regarding agriculture and climate change in China? As part of the German expert delegation I travelled to China in September 2019 to discuss these questions with our Chinese colleagues. We visited many research and policy institutions as well as private enterprises. These are the two topics that most stood out to me:


  • Circular Economy is a very important topic in Chinese agriculture. This can mean to (re-) integrate livestock and crop production and e.g. use farm slurry as manure. It can also mean to use farm slurry, human faeces and straw (otherwise often burnt on the field and hence emitting considerable amounts of greenhouse gas emissions) to produce rural energy in biogas plants, and then use the residues to produce fertilizer.
  • Much research is done to reduce nutrient and plant protection applications. For example, slow-release nitrogen fertilizers can reduce non-point pollution and improve crop production at the same time. The Chinese government also set the agenda to achieve a zero growth in fertilizer application.


Please follow this link to receive more information on the study tour.


Sino-German Agricultural Week in Beijing


In November 2019, experts in agriculture came together for the 5th Sino-German Agricultural Week in Beijing. Many Sino-German cooperation projects and their achievements and future programs were presented. On November 18, the expert team on agriculture and climate change hosted one session that discussed the major climate change challenges in both countries and the work that had been done during the exchange. Sophia Lüttringhaus presented the climate change impacts on crop production in Germany and explained some adaptation and mitigation options created by plant breeding.

More information and all presentations can be found on the DCZ website. Later this year, the Sino-German Center for Agriculture will also publish all research contributions of the expert team on agriculture and climate change. The Research Briefing written by Sophia Lüttringhaus (HFFA Research) can also be downloaded below.


For more detailed information on this project, please contact us.