According to Reuters, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture last Saturday claimed that the condition of China’s winter wheat crop could be the “worst in history,”
Tang Renjian (唐仁健), Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said the harvest of first-and second-grade wheat was reduced by more than 20%. Last year’s unusually severe rains that delayed the planting of nearly a third of the regular wheat acreage were the primary cause.
Tang said, “This year’s grain production indeed faces huge difficulties. Not long ago, we went to the grassroots to do a survey, and many farming experts and technicians told us that crop conditions this year could be the worst in history.”
Loss of fertile land and wasted food were issues that affected China’s food security.
According to the South China Morning Post, China has 1.4 billion people, accounting for a fifth of the world’s population but just 7% of the world’s arable land. So Beijing targeted at least 120 million hectares of arable land for agriculture sixteen years ago.
The plan failed when industrialization and urbanization contributed to the loss of agricultural land. Beijing also saw soil fertility deteriorating in several areas that affected grain yield.
On the other hand, wasting food is an important issue as Chinese leader Xi Jinping gave an unusual instruction for people not to waste food in August 2020.
China loses 35 million metric tonnes of grain every year through excessive processing, poor storage, and transport methods.
Importing seems a temporary method to meet the internal demand for Beijing.
Du Ying (杜鹰), former deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said that China’s food self-sufficiency rate has dropped to 76.8% in 2020 from 101.8% in 2000 and is anticipated to plummet to 65% by 2035.
Official customs data showed China imported a record 164.5 million tonnes of grain in 2021, up 18.1% from a year earlier.
According to Bloomberg, at a meeting of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference on March 6th, Xi said Beijing couldn’t depend on international markets to secure China’s food security.