BEIJING, CHINA — China affirmed its increased grain imports of corn and wheat are not the reason for rising global grain prices, Bloomberg reported.

A Chinese official attributed the increase in prices to the continued coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and food security uncertainty.

Huang Hanquan, an official with the National Development & Reform Commission, noted export restrictions and food reserve stockpiling have created a jump in global prices, according to The Economic Daily.

Huang said it is imprudent to tie China’s increased grain imports to rising prices since China only accounts for a tenth of global trade, Bloomberg reported.

Even with rising global grain prices, China has increased its imports as it works to fulfill the terms of the phase one agreement trade deal with the United States and as its domestic hog production recovers from African swine fever (ASF).

The country also is tackling grain security with increased domestic grain production. In mid-November, China published a notice to encourage all farmers to produce more grain. According to the notice, China must “Stabilize domestic grain output to cope with uncertainties stemming from the global situation.”

The notice comes after China saw a 41% increase in October soybean imports of 8.69 million tonnes and the USDA is forecasting the country to import 22 million tonnes of corn in the 2020-21 marketing year to fill a continued supply gap.