China remains a positive force in maintaining global food security
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]
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.