Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2015, Vol. 70 ›› Issue (2): 257-270.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201502007

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Diversified agriculture and rural development in China based on multifunction theory: Beyond modernization paradigm

Yangang FANG(), Jisheng LIU()   

  1. School of Geographical Sciences, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
  • Received:2014-01-03 Revised:2014-12-20 Online:2015-02-20 Published:2015-02-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41001007


There is a big gap between general rural modernization paradigm and huge empirical rural geography studies. This gap results in impotent development strategies on regionally differentiated countryside. Based on multifunctional agriculture theory and multifunctional rural theory which emerged in Western World as a new paradigm, this paper discusses the multiple objectives, differentiated pathways and policies of agriculture and rural development in China. Firstly, this paper reflects the problems and challenges caused by modernization paradigm in rural China on economic, social, and environmental aspects, as well as that of western developed countries. It can be concluded that conventional agricultural and rural modernization is developed largely at the expense of rural environment, social fabric and economic viabilities. Obviously, "modernization development paradigm" alone is not enough for healthy agricultural and rural development in such booming economy as China. A better paradigm should be developed which takes economic development, social justice and environmental sustainability into account at the same time. After a brief review of multifunctional agriculture theory and multifunctional rural theory overseas, the multiple objectives of agriculture and rural development in China are put forward. These multiple objectives, however, should not and could not be a burden on rural space indiscriminatingly due to the enormous differentiation of natural and socio-economic conditions. Thus, the final but main part of this paper envisions the differentiated pathways and policy portfolios of agricultural and rural development in China from the perspective of territorial division.

Key words: rural development, rural modernization paradigm, rural transition, multifunctional agriculture, multifunctional rural, paradigm shift