Panic over grain shortages unnecessary for China: experts

By Wang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/6 18:33:40

Aerial photo taken on Feb. 11, 2020 shows villagers working in fields in Sangshulin Village, Tuopai Township of Shehong City, southwest China's Sichuan Province. (Photo by Liu Changsong/Xinhua)

In a supermarket located in Chaoyang, Beijing, grain sales surged due to some Chinese consumers' hoarding in recent days.

According to a saleswoman, the supermarket put 100 bags of rice on the shelves on Wednesday, and in no more than three hours, they were sold out. A similar situation occurred on Thursday. 

"On Thursday, we also put 100 bags of rice on the shelves at noon, and they were sold out at about 3:00 pm," a saleswoman told the Global Times. "It would take nearly four days for the supermarket to sell 100 bags of rice before the COVID-19 outbreak," she said.

The saleswoman who infrequently buys rice bought four 5kg bags of rice in one purchase. She told the Global Times that the price is attractive. The rice used to sell at about 40 yuan ($5.64) per bag, but for now, consumers can get a discount of 25 percent, which is about 30 yuan per bag. 

"I intentionally hoarded some rice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After I bought the rice, other colleagues also hoarded some," she said. 

In recent days, Chinese consumers have begun hoarding grains such as rice and wheat flour due to the global pandemic. 

The phenomenon came as some countries halted grain exports. After Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar stopped their rice exports, demand for Indian rice rose significantly, but Indian traders are not signing new contracts due to the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. Labor shortages and logistics in India have curbed the export of existing contracts, according to a Reuters report.

Chinese officials said that China has no problem to ensure domestic food supplies and security, although the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered global food supply chains.

Qin Yuyun, director of the Food Reserve Department at the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, stated on Saturday that China holds sufficient rice and wheat stockpiles, which amount to more than one year of consumption, and he noted that there is no need for the public to stock up on rice.

"Some middle-aged and elderly people that have experienced a period of famine in the past are likely to stock up on grains as the COVDI-19 pandemic has disrupted the global food supply chains, "Jiao Shanwei, editor-in-chief of, a website specializing in grain news, told the Global Times on Monday.

China had 280 million tons of wheat, maize and rice in stock in 2019, which is enough to meet the domestic demand, said Wang Bin, a government official at the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), on Thursday.

"To stabilize the market and consumers' sentiments, China released details of China's sufficient grain reserves," Jiao said.

"Chinese consumers don't need to worry about grain supply shortages and price surges. The Chinese government is able to stabilize the grain market. Also, China's new batches of flour and rice will flow into markets soon," Jiao reiterated.

Posted in: ECONOMY

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