Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The World Bank, to which the USA is by far the largest contributor, has launched a climate program in rural China, to help Chinese farmers improve infrastructure and productivity. This will in turn help the Chinese drive down the profits and job opportunities in rural America.
Project Helps Farmers Adapt to Climate Change in China
About 380,000 rural households in six Chinese provinces are benefiting from a project that helps build sustainable and climate-smart agriculture. The project is funded by the World Bank and the Government of China, with additional technical expertise from the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
The $313.14 million Integrated Modern Agriculture Development (IMAD) Project, the largest World Bank- supported project of its kind in China, combines complementary investments in infrastructure, on-farm technologies, and institutional support by improving irrigation systems, boosting climate-smart agricultural practices, building the capacity of water-user associations and farmers’ cooperatives, and strengthening project management.
In the last two years, the project has helped improve infrastructure for 236,000 mu (38,880 acres) of farmland across 33 counties and districts in the provinces of Gansu, Hunan, Jiangxi, and Liaoning, plus the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Chongqing Municipality. Investments in irrigation have included aqueducts, drip irrigation, and improved drainage systems, to name just a few. Before these investments, the irrigation and drainage in many project areas were inconsistent and unreliable.
I have no problem with China spending their own money improving Chinese infrastructure. It is not like China is short of cash – thanks to China’s vast national savings surplus, China owns at least $1.25 trillion of US government debt. But China only contributes around $6.6 million per annum to the World Bank.
Through its climate program, the World Bank is effectively providing largely US funded soft loans and grants to Chinese farmers, to pay for Chinese infrastructure improvements. Not only are Americans deprived of the use of their own money, these improvements to Chinese infrastructure will drive down profits and job opportunities, for the Americans who help fund those soft loans via the US federal taxes they pay.