In pursuit of self-sufficiency, China injects stability into global food market
BEIJING -- As food shortage grips many parts of the world, with the United Nations (UN) warning of "an unprecedented global hunger crisis," China's success story in grain self-sufficiency might help soothe the frayed market nerve.
Deemed the world's largest grain producer, China has secured a bumper wheat yield in the summer harvest, which traditionally accounts for one-fifth of its annual grain output. It has also completed nearly 80 percent of summer sowing of corn and other crops. The country is well on its course to surpassing 650 million tonnes of grain output for another year.
Securing such mammoth production is anything but easy, as Omicron flare-ups had disrupted the spring farming earlier this year and snarled up traffic when crop harvesters rumbled across the country for summer harvest. Late seeding of wheat due to heavy autumn precipitation last year and rising prices of agricultural input were among other headwinds.
China's stable performance against all odds is not a coincidence. Rather, it is a result of the country's decades of efforts to achieve grain self-sufficiency.
With a population of 1.4 billion to feed, China has a stronger sense of urgency when it comes to the food supply. Yet it has only 9 percent of the world's arable land and 6 percent of the freshwater resource, making food security always an uphill task for the country. In fact, the World Food Programme stopped its grain aid to China as late as 2005.
In light of the situation on the ground, China's ability to feed itself is a major contribution to the world, and this is particularly true when rising food prices have gripped many countries. Any sign of food insecurity in China would be unaffordable for the world now.
This is why China spared no efforts to ensure spring farming and summer harvest despite recent Omicron outbreaks when some developed countries were busy playing the blame game for the food crisis.
According to the latest UN report, the world is moving backward in efforts to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, as the number of people affected by hunger globally shot up to a startling 828 million in 2021.
However, the good news is that China's efforts to become self-sufficient in food crops have paid off. Grain output has been above 650 million tonnes for seven solid years. The per capita food supply is well above the international standard of 400 kg. The country has achieved basic self-sufficiency in grain and absolute security in staple food.
China's food crop production strategy is based on science and technology. The contribution rate of scientific and technological advances to its agriculture has risen sharply over the past few years, and the figure is expected to reach 64 percent by 2025.
Moreover, China does not stash its agricultural technologies. It shares them with the rest of the world.
Last week, a trial planting of Chinese water-saving and drought-resistant rice in Botswana was announced a success. This is believed to be of great importance to the food security of the southern African country.
With a combined agricultural GDP accounting for more than half the world total, BRICS, an emerging-market group that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, adopted a document on food security cooperation and established a forum on the agricultural and rural affairs on the sidelines of their most recent summit.
Actions speak louder than words. China not only cares about its own "rice bowls," but also works for the welfare of the rest of the world.
The views don't necessarily reflect those of Qiushi Journal.