Amidst the coronavirus pandemic and the outbreak of the African Locust in Africa and in China’s neighboring countries, India and Pakistan, the Chinese people are concerned whether China will run into a food shortage this year. Hubei Province, Chong Qing, and other places have seen people buying up rice and flour.
Radio Free Asia reported that a secret document from the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture (AP), Gansu Province was posted on the Internet. The document showed that on March 17, the Linxia AP Party Commission held a special meeting on the topic of food security.
“The AP Party Commission and AP government, as well as the governments of its counties and cities should do everything possible to move in and store various kinds of food materials such as grain, beef, lamb, oil, and salt through different channels.” It also asked the government to “lead people to store food on their own and to ensure that each family has at least three to six months supply in reserve.”
China is the world’s largest food importing country. In addition to importing 80 percent of its soy beans, China also imports 100 million tons of grain. However, when dealing with the coronavirus, several countries imposed a ban on food exports. On March 24, Vietnam announced a ban on rice exports; Kyrgyzstan banned the export of 11 commodities, mainly food, for the next six months; Kazakhstan banned the export of agricultural products such as wheat and carrots; Thailand announced that it would stop exporting rice and eggs.
Xinhua, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, published five articles between April 2 and April 10, to soothe the public’s concern, claiming that China has plenty of food and will not run into a shortage. The articles include:
- “Food Crisis” Is Coming? Expert: China Has Ample Food Supplies (“粮食危机”来了？专家：中国主粮充足)
- Shortage of Food Supplies? You Worry Too Much (粮食供给短缺？多虑了)
- Our Food Supply Can Handle Many Tests (我国粮食供应能应对各种考验)
- Pandemic Caused Worry about “Food Safety”? Grain and Oil Companies: No Need to Stock Up (疫情引发“粮食安全”担忧？粮油企业：无需囤粮)
- There is a Sufficient Food Inventory, However, We Should Pay Attention to Saving Food ( 粮食库存充足 仍要念好“节约经” )
Excerpt in Chinese:
Source: Radio Free Asia, April 2, 2020