BEIJING, CHINA — China, the world’s biggest user of rice and wheat, plans to keep grain production stable through 2020 and, while it will import some grain, the country will rely less on foreign purchases for supplies, Agriculture Minister Han Changfu told reporters before the annual legislature meeting in Beijing, Bloomberg reported on March 9.
The country vows to improve mechanisms for grains pricing and enhance its stockpiling system, and expects grains output to exceed 550 million tonnes in 2016. China has about 1.4 billion mouths to feed and President Xi Jinping has singled out increasing agricultural output as among the country’s priorities.
Xi has urged the nation to take the lead in developing genetically modified crops and the recent purchase of Syngenta AG by China National Chemical Corp. will help expand the amount of food produced per hectare.
China has become the world’s largest importer of soybeans and customs data showed purchases rose 14% to a record last year, Bloomberg reported. Inbound rice shipments climbed 31% and corn purchases were up 82%,. The country imports most of the soybeans it consumes, while rice and corn only represent about 2% of domestic usage, U.S. government data show.