INTERNATIONAL

Grain security is assured: China

Self-sufficiency: Farmers unload wheat for sale to a storehouse in Guanqiao Town of Tengzhou City, east China’s Shandong Province, recently.

Self-sufficiency: Farmers unload wheat for sale to a storehouse in Guanqiao Town of Tengzhou City, east China’s Shandong Province, recently.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: Xinhua

BEIJING: China has mainly relied on itself to feed its population of more than 1.3 billion and the country has successfully met over 95 per cent of its grain needs in the past 10 years, the Beijing Youth Daily has reported, quoting an agricultural official.

Li Zhengdong, director of the International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), said the government had placed food security and grain self-sufficiency high on the priority list. “In the last 10 years, China has mostly been a net exporter of grain, except in 2004. The country has been more than 95 per cent self-sufficient in grain in the last 10 years and its grain security is guaranteed,” said Mr. Li.

According to Mr. Li, since 2003, China’s grain output posted an increase for four years in a row. In 2007, the output reached 500 billion kg, 70 billion kg more than that of 2003, figures released by the MOA showed.

And this year, China witnessed increasing summer grain harvests for the fifth year in a row, he said. The world’s most populous country has been feeding its people on its own. This is a major contribution to the world’s grain security, said the official. Official figures showed that the output of rice, the most important stable food, topped 185 billion kg last year, slightly more than the domestic consumption volume between 180 to 185 billion kg.

Ratio of grain reserves

The ratio of grain reserves to consumption is higher than the 17 to 18 per cent level, regarded as a safe minimum for global stocks, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s top economic planner, in May.

Since late last year, China has decided to strictly control grain export to ensure domestic supply and fight inflation, abolishing tax rebates, levying temporary duties, and imposing quotas on the export of some grain products like rice and wheat.

Mr. Li said the jump in international grain prices was attributed to such factors as the rise of living costs owing to soaring oil prices, rapid development of biofuel and increasing demand for grain. — Xinhua

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