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Meeting China Grain Demand A Tough Task

China faces a “formidable” task in meeting demand for grains such as rice, wheat and corn in the next decade, Agriculture Minister Han Changfu was quoted as saying July 4.

Han said China’s urbanization and rising living standards would push national grain demand to more than 572.5 million tonnes by 2020.

Last year it harvested a record 530.82 million tonnes, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. That implies the harvest would need to grow by 0.8 per cent per year to match demand, twice last year’s growth rate.

“To meet national demand in 2020, we’ll have to increase grain supply by at least four million tonnes annually for the next 10 years. The task of guaranteeing grain security is absolutely formidable.”

But China needs to be self-supporting for its grains, since the world supply-demand situation is also tightening, Han said.

“The figures show that in the last 10 years global consumption of cereals rose by 220 million tonnes, an average of 1.1 per cent per year, but production only increased by 100 million tonnes, or 0.5 per cent per year.”

China’s rural areas are basically self-sufficient, but the rapid pace of urbanization means more and more people are moving from the countryside to towns, Han said.

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