Full Text: Food Security in China

White Paper
The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China on Monday published a white paper titled "Food Security in China."

China SCIOUpdated: October 14, 2019

IV. Prospects and Policies

China has recently enjoyed a run of good harvests. There are adequate grain supplies and reserves, and a stable grain market, which are indicators of increasing food security. Looking to the future, China has the conditions, capabilities and confidence to enhance food security relying on its own efforts. A national system of food security guarantee policies is in place. China's food strategy in the new era consists of ensuring security of food through food self-sufficiency, pooling domestic resources to ensure key links in food security, and securing food supply as a foundation for national development and social stability. There is plenty of space for supply-side structural reform in China's agriculture industry; there is plenty of room for progress in China's agro-technology, in terms of increasing per unit area yield, reducing food waste, and developing non-grain foods. Adequate grain reserves help ensure market supply and a basically stable market; a modernized grain storage and logistics system helps prevent regional or provisional food supply crises; market mechanisms in full play help improve the structure of grain varieties.

In the medium to long term, China's grain production and demand will remain closely aligned, which means China must not slacken its efforts to ensure food security. Per capita grain consumption and demand will drop slightly with social and economic development; the consumption of grain as feed for livestock and grain used for industrial purposes will continue to rise; total grain consumption will increase and pursue higher quality. In terms of grain production, agricultural costs are still rising, and resource and environmental carrying capacity (RECC) is broaching its limit. Agricultural infrastructure is comparatively weak, and capacity for disaster prevention and relief must be improved. China will find itself under considerable pressure to maintain steady grain production while ensuring green development and sustainable resource use. In terms of grain circulation, grain production will continue to be concentrated in core production areas. Transregional grain flows will increase, and there is still the risk of dramatic fluctuations in the grain market.

In global terms, international institutions for food and agriculture have achieved outcomes in improving global food security governance. All countries have an increasing will to facilitate orderly circulation in the international food market and overall stability. Progress has been made in grain production in low-income food-deficit countries, which will mitigate the negative impact of international market fluctuations upon domestic markets, and create a sound environment for China's and for global food security.

At the same time, today's world is still facing severe food security challenges. There are still over 800 million people suffering from hunger, while international food trade is being disrupted by protectionism and unilateralism, and showing increasing instability. These challenges mean that the world has a long way to go in reaching its sustainable development goals.

In view of domestic and global food security, China will forge ahead along its own path. Pursuing a new development philosophy, China will implement its national strategies for food security and rural vitalization through sustainable farmland use and agricultural technology innovation to increase farmland productivity. China will advance from a large grain producer to a food industry power, holding firm its "rice bowl". While ensuring domestic food security, China will join the global fight against hunger. China will continue to provide assistance to the best of its ability to other developing countries within the framework of South-South cooperation, and promote the sound development of the global food industry.

1. Enhancing food productivity

– Keeping to the red line for the protection of cultivated land and saving and utilizing water resources efficiently. By 2020, China will implement the following mandatory indexes and achieve the following targets:

· 124 million ha of cultivated land,

· 103 million ha of permanent basic farmland,

· no more than 40.7 million ha of land for construction,

· 53.3 million ha of high-standard farmland,

· complete functional areas for grain production and protected areas for the production of important agricultural products,

· maintain a grain planting area of above 110 million ha, and

· maintain a comprehensive grain production capacity of above 600 million tons.

China will continue to improve farmland quality. By 2022, it will complete the construction of 66.67 million ha of high-standard farmland, and by 2035, it will keep its grain planting area generally steady. It will implement major hydro construction projects for water conservation and supply, improve farmland hydro facilities, and increase water resource utilization efficiency.

– Adjusting the crop planting structure and increasing the supply of green and high-quality grain and edible oil. China will keep its grain planting area steady, and develop tuber crops, legume crops, and miscellaneous grain crops in accordance with local conditions. Crop varieties will include strong gluten wheat, weak gluten wheat, high-quality rice, silage corn, special corn, and high-oleic and high-protein soybean. Farmers' incomes will increase by selling high-quality produce at higher prices. China will continue implementing the Quality Food Project and the Healthy Grain and Edible Oil Action Plan, facilitate green agricultural development and the Healthy China initiative, and increase the supply of green and high-quality grain and edible oil.

– Upgrading institutions and mechanisms for better organized grain production. China will separate the ownership, contracting right and management right of rural contracted land in an orderly manner. It will foster new types of operating and service entities, promote moderate-scale management oriented by land transfer and service, and transform small-scale, decentralized management into moderate-scale, multi-entity management. A new generation of professional farmers will benefit from better technical training, who will be encouraged to participate in large-scale, industrialized management through shareholding and shareholding cooperative systems. China will improve policies to support small agricultural households, and help them adapt to modern agricultural development.

– Enhancing agro-technological innovation and improving grain production capacity. China will promote basic agricultural research and upgrade technologies in water conservation and irritation, and focus on agricultural machinery, pesticide R&D, fertilizer development, the processing, storage and transport of grain, and circular agriculture. China will continue to innovate in the seed industry, making breakthroughs in core technologies such as germplasm improvement, and the creation, efficient cultivation, processing, and circulation of new crop varieties. China will enhance integrated technological innovation, breaking logjams in improving per unit area yield, crop quality, economic benefits, and the environment. China will promote mechanization in agriculture and transform and upgrade the agricultural machinery industry, increasing grain supply and improving grain quality through the application of agronomy and agro-techniques.

2. Improving the management of emergency grain reserves

– Improving the management of grain reserves. To facilitate macro-regulation, a steady market, sound emergency response, and national security, China will apply scientific rationale in designing the functions and scale of grain reserves. It will reform and complete its management mechanisms, improve its operating mechanisms, and strengthen internal management and external supervision. The goal is to build a food security guarantee system which is more advanced, effective, efficient and sustainable.

– Improving the emergency grain supply guarantee system. China will establish a network for the supply, delivery and processing of grain for emergency use. A number of standardized delivery centers, emergency processing enterprises, and emergency supply centers for grain and edible oil. China will form an emergency grain supply guarantee system with well-distributed shops and complete equipment that runs efficiently and provides solid support. China will enhance emergency response functions and guarantee emergency supplies.

– Improving the grain monitoring and pre-warning system. China will improve the pre-warning mechanisms for the grain and edible oil market by establishing a national monitoring and pre-warning system at the state, provincial, municipal and county levels. China will accurately follow domestic and international grain developments through IT application. China will improve the monitoring network for the grain and edible oil market, to provide timely, accurate and all-faceted market information services, and to guard against abnormal market fluctuations.

– Encouraging grain conservation and reducing losses. China will launch publicity and education activities to enhance public awareness of food conservation, contain unnecessary consumption, reduce food waste, and to foster rational, healthy and civilized consumption. China will popularize new equipment and technologies for grain storage that are economical, effective, insect-resistant and mildew-proof, to reduce farmers' post-production losses. China will popularize green, eco-friendly and smart equipment and facilities for grain storage, encourage moderate processing, raise logistics efficiency, and reduce circulation losses and spoilage.

3. Building a modern grain circulation system

– Stepping up efforts to build a modern grain market system. China places equal importance on market-oriented reform and protecting farmers' interests. Upholding its red line of absolute security of staple food and zero risk to farmers from low grain prices, China will adapt itself to the WTO rules, actively and steadily reform its grain purchase and storage systems and pricing mechanisms, giving full play to the decisive role of market in allocating grain resources, and letting the government play its role better. Through these measures, China hopes that grain prices can better reflect market demand and supply, that market vitality will be boosted, and a balance between demand and supply can be achieved, to form a unified and open modern grain market system with orderly competition.

– Improving grain storage and logistics. Focusing on improving distribution, structure and functions, China will encourage rational reconstruction, expansion and construction of grain storage and logistics facilities, to advance the smart management of grain depots and guarantee their safe operation. China will improve the distribution of large grain logistics parks, and build logistics passageways and major junctions for grain imports and exports, to increase efficient circulation on major grain logistics routes.

– Building a modernized grain industry system. Pursuing high-quality development, China encourages a circular food economy. China will develop deep and intensive processing and conversion of grain, industrialize the processing of staple food, and increase the supply of green, high-quality and specialty grains and edible oils. China will boost the production of high-quality grain, purchase it at higher prices, and prioritize its storage, processing and sales. China will move faster to build a modernized grain industry system.

4. Safeguarding global food security

– Advancing South-South cooperation. China will work hard to achieve the goals set in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: "End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture."

– Enhancing grain trade cooperation with the countries along the routes of the Belt and Road. Together, we will establish a new international platform for grain cooperation, to facilitate the free and orderly flow of agricultural resources and deep integration of markets in the Belt and Road countries.

– Supporting Chinese grain enterprises in "going global" and "bringing in". China will make rational use of both domestic and international markets and resources. China will improve grain import channels, expand diversified food resource markets, and promote rational and efficient allocation of global grain resources.

– Engaging in global and regional food security governance. China will explore new modes of international food cooperation, and conduct multifaceted and advanced cooperation with other countries. Observing WTO rules, China will do all it can to make international food security more secure, stable and rational in order to better safeguard food security of our world.

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