China says grain supplies are abundant, dismisses concerns over shortages and price hikes

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/26 12:55:49

Nation’s grain supplies abundant, prices will remain stable: govt

A farmer transports grains to be dried in Oujiangcha Town of Yiyang City, central China's Hunan Province, July 14, 2020. (Xinhua/Xue Yuge)

Supplies of grain and oil are abundant and prices will also remain stable, China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Wednesday, thus there is no need for domestic consumers to be overly anxious or panic buy. The ministry added that if there's no major disaster in the second half of 2020, it will still be a bumper year.

"The overall food security situation in China is good. There is no problem with the current supply and medium and long-term supplies are guaranteed," Pan Wenbo, head of the ministry's crop production department, told a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

"We will adapt to the new situation and changes in national food security, make overall arrangements for short-term and long-term scenarios, both domestic and international, and steadily expand production. We will maintain the bottom line of basic self-sufficiency in cereals and guarantee absolute security of rations," said Pan.

"The response is timely as many ordinary Chinese were becoming unsure of the status of the country's agricultural product supply given the economic uncertainties caused by COVID-19, resulting in speculation and slight market fluctuations in some regions," said Li Guoxiang, a research fellow in the agricultural sector at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"This will help stabilize people's expectations of the grain market," Li said, noting that the central government hasn't rested on its laurels despite China's remarkable grain output.

The remarks were also a strong rebuttal of foreign media reports that have fabricated stories with attention-grabbing headlines about China's food supply in recent days, claiming China is suffering from a severe food shortage amid pandemic impact and natural disasters such as floods.

"We have already seen good harvests of summer grain and early rice," Tang Ke, head of the ministry's department for market and economic information, said, adding that although the local premature waterlogging disaster was severe, the recovery of production after the disaster has been timely and effective. 

The growth of autumn crops was generally good, and the trend of steady improvement in grain production remains unchanged. If there are no major disasters later in 2020, the whole year will be a bumper year, Tang said.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the output of summer grain was 142.81 million tons, an increase of 1.208 million tons over last year, with a growth rate of 0.9 percent. The total sown area of summer grain was 26,172 thousand hectares, which decreased 181.6 thousand hectares over last year, and a drop of 0.7 percent. 

Nevertheless, officials still aired some concerns during the press conference, saying its main concern was typhoons in late August and early September, which could pose a danger to grain production.

Officials from the ministry also said soybean supplies, which China mainly imports, will also be secured. China's soybean imports are expected to increase steadily in the coming half of the year. With the implementation of the China-US trade deal, the number of soybeans from the US will only increase, according to the ministry.

Newspaper headline: Nation’s grain supplies abundant, prices will remain stable: govt


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