Since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in China, there have been occasional reports of food crises in the country where its authorities have never admitted the shortage but insisted it enjoyed good harvests every year.

Yet, now data is making clear that the Chinese government is hoarding food, somewhat frantically. 

According to Secret China, over the past five years, its soybeans, corn, and wheat imports have increased by 2 to 12 times, whereas imports of beef, pork, dairy products, and fruits increased 2 to 5 times. 

Nikkei also reported that China’s purchase of soybeans from home and abroad are all stored in Dalian city of Liaoning Province, and are shipped to all parts of the country by trains or ships. 

Qin Yuyun, director of the Grain Reserve Department of the State Administration of Grain and Raw Materials Reserves of China, said that the country is piling up its grain stocks at historically high levels. The stocks are expected to meet demand for a year and a half. But still, he stressed that China’s grain supply is not a problem at the moment.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that, by the first half of 2022, China will have 69% of the world’s grain reserves, including 60% rice and 51% wheat.

Meanwhile, the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China said that the scope of its food imports in 2020 reached $98.1 billion, or 4.6 times greater than that of ten years ago. Food imports from January to September 2021 were also much more significant than in 2016. 

Statistics show that China has bought a lot from the U.S., Brazil, and other supplying countries in the past five years. 

Data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations showed that the food price index in November this year was about 30% higher than the same period last year. 

Speculation

According to Secret China, the director of the Tochigi Prefecture Institute of Natural Resources in Tokyo, suspected that China is importing more because domestic production cannot keep up with consumption.  

Takahashi Goro, professor emeritus at Aichi University, directly pointed out that due to the dispersion of arable land and soil pollution, China’s agricultural productivity is growing slowly.

According to South China Morning Post, online discussions were also suspicious. This could indicate that Beijing is likely preparing for a war with Taiwan.

The report also mentioned that Chinese people are still aware of the pains they suffered from the famine after the “Cultural Revolution” period from 1966 to 1976. Any lack of food would cause chaos.

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