A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

China is importing corn and rice. Is the country’s food self-sufficiency being reassessed?

13 September 2010



While all summer long special attention focused on soaring wheat prices following Moscow’s decision to ban exports, another equally significant event yet remained in the shadow. Throughout the year, China has imported considerable quantities of corn and rice––two food products traditionally at the heart of Beijing’s food self-sufficiency strategy.

In fact, corn imports are reaching unseen levels during the past 15 years––since the poor crops of 1994/95. Arrangements are being made for China to import one million tons of American corn this year––the largest purchase of the past 14 years. Rice imports are also larger than usual with massive purchases from Vietnam. Even if it was not under the spotlight, this increase in exports nonetheless attracted the attention of some market players. Is China’s self-sufficiency threatened? Most experts do not think so, since Beijing’s food self-sufficiency remains at about a 99 percent level.

China’s recent importations are in fact resulting from several factors: The rampant urbanization that destroys entire sections of farmland, the rapid surge in domestic demand for corn, as well as the lack of water resources and more than mediocre farming technologies.

Clearly, Beijing must assess these changes and adapt its agricultural policy, so that such massive importations only represent a temporary adjustment phenomenon. Yet considering the questions raised, the Chinese supply base remains an eminently strategic issue, not only for the Chinese government that treats it as a national security issue, but also for the stability of international markets, given the size of the Chinese population.

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Paris, 24 April 2019