China to boost grain productivity, safeguard global food security


China on Monday issued a white paper on food security, detailing the country's efforts in enhancing food security and expanding international cooperation in the area.

XinhuaUpdated: October 15, 2019

China on Monday issued a white paper on food security, detailing the country's efforts in enhancing food security and expanding international cooperation in the area.

Despite a weak agricultural foundation and extreme poverty, the Communist Party of China has led an unremitting campaign of hard work over the past 70 years that has made China basically self-sufficient in food supply, said the white paper titled "Food Security in China," which was released by the State Council Information Office.

Abiding by the principle of basic food self-sufficiency based on domestic grain production, China practices the strictest farmland protection system and a strategy of sustainable farmland use and innovative application of agricultural technology to increase farmland productivity.

Through supply-side structural reform and institutional innovation, China has raised grain productivity, modernized grain circulation, improved the food-supply structure, and achieved steady development in the grain industry, said the white paper.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed between 1949 and 2018, China's total grain output rose by nearly five times from 113 million tonnes to 658 million tonnes, while the per capita output more than doubled from 209 kg to 472 kg.

"Looking to the future, China has the conditions, capabilities and confidence to enhance food security relying on its own efforts," said the white paper.

However, the paper noted that 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.

Meanwhile, the world is still facing severe food security challenges, with over 800 million people suffering from hunger and food trade being disrupted by protectionism and unilateralism.

In view of these challenges, China will forge ahead along its own path and implement its national strategies for food security and rural vitalization through sustainable farmland use and agricultural technology innovation to increase farmland productivity, said the white paper.

Holding "rice bowl" firm

China will advance from a large grain producer to a food industry power, holding firm its "rice bowl," the white paper said.

China will maintain the protection of cultivated land and continue to improve farmland quality.

By 2022, it will complete the construction of 66.67 million hectares of high-quality farmland, and by 2035 it will keep its grain planting area generally steady.

The country will also improve the management of emergency grain reserves and build a modern grain market system.

Upholding its red line of absolute food security and zero risk to farmers from low grain prices, China will adapt itself to the WTO rules, actively and steadily reforming its grain purchase and storage systems and pricing mechanisms so as to give full play to the decisive role of the market in allocating grain resources and let the government play its role better, the white paper said.

Safeguard global security

China will continue to provide assistance to other developing countries to the best of its ability within the framework of South-South cooperation, and promote the sound development of the global food industry, the white paper said.

It 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."

China will also enhance grain trade cooperation with the countries along the Belt and Road to establish a new international platform for grain cooperation and facilitate the free and orderly flow of agricultural resources and deep integration of markets in the Belt and Road countries.

Efforts will be made to support grain enterprises in "going global" and "bringing in" to make rational use of both domestic and international markets and resources.

Meanwhile, 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 the international food supply more secure, stable and rational in order to better safeguard the food security of our world," said the white paper.