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.

China: a growing need for grain

Frederic Henin, editor of Terre-Net
and Thierry Pouch, an economist at the Permanent Assembly of Chambers of Agriculture

Article published in Terre-net Magazine (No. 15)

The Middle Kingdom is unable cope with an increased demand for meat and dairy products without importing ready to eat food or agricultural commodities. At stake: the development of its animal industries. The geopolitical balance of future years will mainly depend on its supply strategy.

China, the collapse of a dogma: that of food self-sufficiency on which the country has based its economic development for 40 years.

Because, with economic growth of over 9% per year, an increase in consumer appetites for meat and dairy products and limited land resources, the Middle Kingdom has no choice but to import agricultural commodities essential to feeding its livestock and foods that the country is unable to produce.

Compared to all of its trade (1,600 billion dollars), these imports concern only 3-4% of commercial transactions. But China has a food deficit of 23 billion dollars, making all the agricultural markets it approaches tremble.

The quantities involved are indeed impressive. For example, the 58Mt of imported soybeans mobilise 60% of world trade. For maize, China has boosted market tensions by importing substantial tonnages for the past two years (3 mt in 2011).

Impressive quantities

This trend will only intensify; as demand for beef and dairy products is growing at a rate that will not enable China to acquire the means necessary to become self-sufficient in fodder. The natural resources still available are low. Hay is imported from the United States and pastures are overexploited. Finally, very small cattle and milk farms are inefficient.

For beef cattle, small farmers who each own less than five animals, own 95% of the livestock. For milk cattle, this percentage is 75%.

Until recently, large cattle were reared and fed to be used for work. Milk and meat were simply by-products. Chinese food was basically vegetarian.

Page Header
Paris, 24 June 2019