Bumper Harvest Reassures Food Safety

Chinese news reports that the grain harvest will be plentiful this year, hopefully assuring a sufficient quantity of grain for the domestic Chinese market in the midst of a world-wide shortage. From China Daily:

China’s agricultural authority has expressed confidence in the summer harvest, as farmers around the country have put over half of the output into granary with the rest to be cropped before the end of the month.

A Ministry of Agriculture official said that major grain production areas are poised to sustain a bumper summer crop for the fifth year in a row, maintaining the rising momentum in grain production.

“The summer harvest, which comes amid global food crisis, reassures the world’s most populous country of its domestic food safety,” said Han Jun, head of the rural section of the State Council Development Research Center.

However, the Indo Asian News Service is not as optimistic, and argues that grain harvests are suffering due to droughts, an increasing population, and climate change.

China’s rising grain demand is poised to exacerbate the global food crisis over the next few years.

Harvests are decreasing sharply in some parts of the country due to chronic lack of water for farmland irrigation. Global warming will have an additional effect and further diminish grain yields drastically.

“China may well move into the world market for large quantities of grain in the near future, just like it has done with soybeans,” said Lester Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington DC.

Additionally, food inflation in China has slowed. From Bloomberg:

Food makes up about one-third of the consumer-price index. Vegetable and pork supplies are recovering from the blizzards and a hog disease outbreak, according to Paul Cavey, an economist at Macquarie Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong.

Meat prices rose 37.8 percent from a year earlier after a 47.9 percent gain in April. Vegetables rose 10.3 percent after a 13.6 percent increase.

The inflation rate in cities and towns slowed to 7.3 percent in May from 8.1 percent in April, while that in rural areas cooled to 8.5 percent from 9.3 percent, the statistics bureau said.

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