China faces huge food supply shortfall

Beijing, April 26 (IANS) Despite bumper harvests, China has a 9.9 million tonne shortfall in the amount of grain it produces and consumes annually, a senior official said on Tuesday.

In the long term, China’s food security situation is still alarming, Xinhua quoted Ren Zhengxiao, head of the State Administration of Grain, as saying.

China’s food security is now more urgent with a rising population and industrialisation encroaching on farmland. The situation is also aggravated by water and soil pollution, said Ren.

China’s total grain output increased 2.4 percent year on year to 621 million tonnes in 2015, the 12th straight year of growth.

Policymakers renewed their commitment to food security during a conference at the end of 2015. The government will secure the supply of staples, protect farmland and maintain production capacity, they said.

China will ensure grain output in major producing regions, trying to keep cereal largely self-sufficient and staples absolutely safe, according to the conference.

The government will offer preferential policies to large-scale grain farms while making sure that farmers benefit from agricultural development.

China will also improve price formation mechanisms and government purchase measures for important farm products.

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