China could be self sufficient in grain by 2024, say officials

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

China could be self sufficient in grain by 2024, say officials

Related tags Agriculture

An official report has predicted that China will develop its own "rice bowl” to remain close to self sufficiency in the main crops at a time of great food uncertainty around the world.

Chinese food consumption will have guaranteed security by the end of the next decade, according to the Ministry of Agriculture’s annual forecast of trends for major agricultural products in China for the next decade.

It said agricultural output will see stable development, supply and demand will remain balanced and consumption will grow quickly.

Grain production almost breaking even

Rice output will reach more than 200m tonnes, while domestic consumption will approach 145m tonnes by 2024, it predicted.

By that time, grain output will approach 129m tonnes, an annual increase of 2.5% over 2014. At the same time, total grain consumption will reach 132m tonnes with average annual growth of 0.6 percent.

There will be a robust growth in meat consumption while growth in poultry and eggs is expected to be mild.

China is also facing unprecedented challenges in achieving sustained and stable development in agriculture, the report said, citing rising costs, impaired cultivation and limited arable land and fresh water.

To solve the problems, China must accelerate agricultural modernisation to raise quality and efficiency, and continue to transform the pattern of development to attain intensive and sustainable growth, the report said.

China made progress in rural development in 2014 with grain output growing for the eleventh year in a row last year, reaching 607m tonnes.

Other risers and fallers

The same report predicts that the world’s top buyer of soy will import 82.66m tonnes of soy, a rise of 15.8% from 2014. China, the world’s second-biggest rice consumer, will also import 3.2m tonnes of the grain.

Elsewhere, imports of wheat will fall by 5.7% from 2014 to 2.8m tonnes; sugar imports will reach 5.83m tonnes in 2024, a rise of 45% from last year; and Dairy imports will grow 3% a year over the coming decade to 16m tonnes.

Corn imports by the world’s second-largest consumer are unlikely to exceed 7.2m tonnes in 2024 due to quota restrictions, as long as domestic supplies are sufficient.

Meat consumption will slow, restricting pork imports to less than 1m tonnes a year by 2024, while those of beef and lamb will be less than 500,000 tonnes each, the report said.

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