Beijing Review reports that China has achieved a “bountiful harvest”, avoiding feared shortages like those that forced Russia to block grain exports in August. However, the country’s long-term food security remains uncertain:
Despite sweeping natural disasters, China is on track to achieve a bountiful harvest for this autumn’s grain yield, which usually accounts for three fourths of the annual output, said Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu ….
China’s grain output, including rice, wheat and corn, amounted to 530.8 million tons in 2009, the sixth consecutive year of growth. The output for this year, according to Han, will be no less than last year and is likely to hit a new record ….
But vigorous efforts are still needed to strengthen grain supply and quality, said Han ….
While a bumper harvest is on the way for this year, the long-term grain safety is far from guaranteed given an expanding population and the growing living standards.
China expects its annual grain consumption to reach 572.5 million tons by 2020, and to maintain a food self-sufficiency rate of 95 percent, at least 540 million tons of grain output will be needed, said Zhang Ping, Chairman of the NDRC.
The goal is actually not within easy reach given the country’s limited cultivated land, scarce water and relatively weak agricultural technologies.