China remains a positive force in maintaining global food security

China Plus Published: 2019-10-15 21:23:55
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Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs".

China on Monday issued a white paper laying out the country's food security strategy. The white paper, "Food Security in China", provides facts and figures about the country's contribution to safeguarding world food security and promoting common development.

A group of primary school students in east China's Jiangxi Province display the rice ears they picked in a field ahead of World Food Day, which falls on October 16 every year. [Photo: IC]

A group of primary school students in east China's Jiangxi Province display the rice ears they picked in a field ahead of World Food Day, which falls on October 16 every year. [Photo: IC]

In this 1995 book "Who Will Feed China", the American environmental analyst Lester Brown predicted that the world's largest developing country would face food shortages by 2030, posing a grave threat to global food security. But today, as the white paper shows, China doesn't pose a threat to food security. And what's more, it has accomplished the unprecedented achievement of guaranteeing the food security of the world's most populous country despite its limited resources.

According to the white paper, China accounts for one-fifth of the world's population and one-quarter of global food production. It meets 95 percent of its own need for grain. From 2001 to 2018, soybeans accounted for three-quarters of its imported grain; the two staples rice and wheat together accounted for less than six percent. This is concrete evidence that China's food security is sound.

China's efforts to guarantee its food security have been a success thanks to its national strategy of guaranteed food production capacity, moderate imports, and technological support. The establishment of a comprehensive food science and technology innovation system has been critically important: For example, the per unit yield of super hybrid rice cultivated by the Chinese scientist Yuan Longping reached nearly 18.1 tons per hectare, a new world record.

On top of securing the supply of food to one-fifth of the world's population, China has also contributed to global food security by strengthening its international cooperation and opening up its domestic market. It has dropped import quotas, permits, and other non-tariff measures for agricultural products, exercised quota management for imported wheat, corn, and rice, and cut import duties on other food products by large margins. Last year, China imported 115.55 million tons of oil crops (including soybeans), feed, and other foods – more than nine times the amount it imported in 1996. China is promoting free trade by opening its food market to the world.

Since 1996, China and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) have together implemented more than 20 multilateral South-South cooperation programs. China alone accounts for 60 percent of the personnel dispatched by the UNFAO's South-South cooperation program. The UNFAO has made China's hybrid rice its top choice when it develops agricultural programs to help solve food shortages in developing countries, and it's now growing in dozens of countries.

There is a long way to go to reach the goal of ending hunger that's enshrined in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. It still afflicts over 800 million people worldwide. To bring the world closer to that goal, China has put forward four proposals, namely, enhancing food productivity, improving the management of emergency grain reserves, building a modern grain circulation system, and actively safeguarding global food security. These proposals are a demonstration of China's determination to wipe hunger and poverty off the face of the earth.

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LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.