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China Raises Alarm over Expected Food Shortages

After severe flooding, about one-sixth of China’s land is soaked in water. Much of these lands serve as the main grain growing regions. Both China’s President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Hu Chunhua recently talked about food security [Editor’s note: meaning food shortages] The pandemic, flooding, the deterioration of Sino-US relations, and the complex international situation are all directly or indirectly affecting food security.

On July 27th, Vice Premier Hu Chunhua spoke at a national food security video conference. Hu asked that food production be strengthened and that China ensure that there would be no mistake about food security. China has a governor’s responsibility system for food security, an institutional arrangement that provincial governments are held accountable for the protection of arable lands and food production in the region.

When Xi Jinping visited Jilin province a week earlier, he also emphasized that safeguarding food security must be placed in a prominent position, and that one “cannot relax” to increase food production.

Among the flooded areas in the southern provinces, substantial parts are major grain producing regions. According to the official statistics, grain production in the summer increased by 0.9 percent. However, the autumn production is a huge challenge. Due to the floods in southern China, some areas may see a “destructive reduction in production or even a total crop failure.” An alarm over food security was raised as autumn grain production accounts for three quarters of the annual total.

Lujiang County, located in central Anhui province, bordering Lake Chao on the north and the Yangtze River on the south, is one of China’s first commercial grain production bases. However, the recent flooding has devastated the vegetable production in Lujiang. The latest statistics show that, as of July 23, the disaster had affected 83,400 mu (13,745 acres) of vegetables, and 55,400 mu (9,131 acres) saw no harvest, causing a reduction of 80,423 tons of production.

Source: World Journal, July 29, 2020