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Official voices concerns over nation’s future grain supply
Xinhua | January 29, 2013 00:48
By Agencies
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Concerns have been expressed by a senior Chinese official over the country's grain security as rapid urbanization is reducing scope for further increase in output.

Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said on Monday grain supply is in tight balance with demand, though the country has seen consecutive record harvests over the past nine years.

Chen said tight supply is a challenge for the whole world and will persist because of rising crude oil prices, global warming and conversion of grain into fuel.

Rapid urbanization has led to a decline in arable land areas, and a large number of rural labor workers switching to non-agricultural jobs have played a major part in limiting China's grain output.

To guarantee grain security, the Chinese government has set a "red line" demarcating that its arable land never drop below 120 million hectares, and has stepped up efforts to boost modern agricultural development.

The Chinese government on January 16 dismissed concerns over its grain supply security, saying that grain imports have remained within a reasonable range despite increasing rapidly last year.

The amount of wheat, corn and rice China imported from January to November 2012 soared 294.5 percent year on year but accounted for less than half of the country's combined annual quota for importing the three types of grain, the Ministry of Commerce said earlier.

Experts said that to maintain a production balance, the country should also pay more attention to the grain production structure and avoid relying excessively on imports.

Xinhua


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