January 22, 2015

22/01/2015: China to raise local grain reserves to improve food security

China will ask local governments to increase their grain reserves and give more responsibility to local governments in maintaining supplies as it bids to head off ‘long-term’ food security problems, the country's cabinet said on Thursday, India’s Economic Times reports

The State Council said in a notice that the governor of each province will be held responsible for increasing local grain production and reserves and maintaining stable regional prices.

According to the notice, grain supplies in the world's most populous nation are expected to remain "tight in the long term" due to water and land constraints, and it faces growing food security challenges. 

"Local governments and departments should fully realise the extreme importance and complexity of ensuring grain security," said the notice, which was posted on China's official government website.

Big cities should hold enough grains and edible oil reserves to cover half a month of consumption, it said. 

Besides production and management of reserves, local authorities should also take responsibility for food safety and introduce measures to reduce the use of fertiliser and pesticides and treat heavy-metal polluted farmland, it said.

Local governments have long prioritised the expansion of industries in order to boost tax income, and have lacked incentives to develop agriculture. Farming accounts only a small part of local GDP. 

The State Council reaffirmed the country's policies to protect farmland and promised to audit local officials for any irregularities related to the sale of farmland to non-agricultural sectors.

Industry analysts said the move is unlikely to have any impact on the country's grain imports, with the central government still in control over the issue of import quotas. 

Read the article HERE.

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