Grain reserves reach record high

By Chen Dujuan Source:Global Times Published: 2013-3-24 23:08:01

China's grain reserves have reached a record high, an executive at a State-owned enterprise that manages the State grain reserves said Saturday, adding that there are not currently any concerns over the country's food security.

Bao Kexin, chairman of China Grain Reserves Corporation, told a forum Saturday that self-sufficiency in grain will not be a concern for China in the long term, due to efforts and policies to encourage farmers to plant more grain.

China's grain imports increased by 156.7 percent year-on-year in 2012, raising concerns over the country's self-sufficiency.

But the soaring imports last year were caused by the fact that imported grain was cheaper than domestic grain, not because of a shortage of supply at home, Bao said.

"China's increase in reserves of grain was far more than the increase in grain imports throughout the year, indicating that the country was self-sufficient in 2012," Bao said.

However, although food security will not be an issue in the short term, there might be problems in the long term, as urbanization and industrialization will definitely increase the country's demand for grain while eating into land resources at the same time, Bao said.

There is less money to be made from planting grain than from working in cities, which weakens farmers' motivation and means that more people are leaving their farmland, Jiao Shanwei, editor-in-chief of Zhengzhou-based grain portal, told the Global Times Sunday.

"In big rice producing areas such as Sichuan, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces, a lot of land has been left uncultivated or used for vegetables, due to the time-consuming planting processes needed for rice," Jiao said.

The government has raised the minimum purchasing price for grain each year since 2004, which has helped farmers, but the annual rise has been no more than 10 percent on average, compared with bigger increases in planting costs, Jiao said. The country should consider offering subsidies to farmers based on their grain output, he suggested.

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