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China reaffirms goal to bolster food security as imports swell

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Bloomberg reported on January 4 that China has vowed to expand domestic crop production and has strengthened its plan to ensure grain and food security after imports surged to unprecedented levels.

New agriculture minister Tang Renjian pledged to improve crop yields of locally-grown rice, wheat, soybeans and corn while protecting against farmland loss, according to a report on the ministry’s website. He said maintaining stable food production will be a priority under the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan, which will set out key economic and political goals for 2021 to 2025.

China’s local production has been unable to keep pace with its burgeoning demand for animal feed as its hog population rebounds faster than expected from African swine fever. Imports soared in 2020, and there are expectations that China is on its way to becoming the world’s largest corn buyer, just like soybeans, where the nation currently imports about 60% of global trade. “We must ensure that the Chinese rice bowl is filled mainly with Chinese grains, and that Chinese grains should use mainly Chinese seeds,” said Tang.

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