Security

Tech Talk: China’s food supply ‘absolutely safe and secure’


05:15

China’s annual Central Rural Work Conference mapped out priorities of work related to the “three rural issues” – agriculture, rural areas and farmers for 2024 as it concluded on December 20 in Beijing.

CGTN sat down with Li Chunding, director and professor of the Economics and Trade Department of China Agricultural University, to decode keywords of this year’s conference.

Food supply sufficient in China

/CFP

Food security was one of the major topics of the conference. Li said that the food supply in China is “absolutely safe and secure.”

“The supply and reserve of products covering our basic food needs, such as rice, wheat and corn, are sufficient,” he said.

Data from the State Statistics Bureau shows that China’s grain output has surpassed 1.3 trillion jin (650 billion kg) for nine consecutive years. This year’s conference also stressed the goal to ensure that the country’s grain output in 2024 stays above 650 billion kg. Li believes that China has found a good rule of thumb in food security.

“The national policy attaches great importance to it and the enthusiasm of farmers to grow grain has been effectively stimulated, which has ensured the planting area of grain and the grain yield, said the professor. “The development of China’s agriculture technology… has also contributed to the increase in the grain yield.”

Soybean pods. /CFP

However, China’s reliance on external demand for products like soybeans has grown due to increasing demand for Chinese people’s nutrition and health, and the situation is constantly developing, said Li.

“The consumption of fish, meat, livestock and poultry has increased substantially. Soybeans are required by the animal breeding industry,” he said.

The expert added that China has attached great importance to this issue and put forward a strategy for the revitalization of soybeans.

“Our dependence on external demand should be in a controllable range in the future.”

Disaster prevention and relief in agriculture

Rescuers wade into the trapped village in Zhuozhou City, north China's Hebei Province, on August 1, 2023. /CFP

Rescuers wade into the trapped village in Zhuozhou City, north China’s Hebei Province, on August 1, 2023. /CFP

Rescuers wade into the trapped village in Zhuozhou City, north China’s Hebei Province, on August 1, 2023. /CFP

Some parts of China suffered severe natural disasters in 2023. Li believes it’s crucial for China to enhance the country’s capabilities in disaster prevention, reduction, and relief in agriculture.

“Firstly, we need to improve the capacity for disaster prediction and prevention,” said the expert. “Secondly, from the national policy level, we need to have corresponding response to protect the rights and interests of farmers affected by disasters.”

“Agricultural systems such as insurance need to be further improved,” he added.

“Thirdly, we need to have the ability to handle the situation well after disasters,” Li told CGTN. “By combining digital technology with AI, we can take measures as soon as possible, and even avoid the impact of natural disasters.”

The expert believes that China is constantly making progress and developing in disaster prevention, reduction and relief in the field of agriculture.

Agricultural and rural modernization plays a fundamental role

A unmanned equipment works in a farmland the city of Jinhua in east China's Zhejiang Province, June 8, 2023. /CFP

A unmanned equipment works in a farmland the city of Jinhua in east China’s Zhejiang Province, June 8, 2023. /CFP

A unmanned equipment works in a farmland the city of Jinhua in east China’s Zhejiang Province, June 8, 2023. /CFP

The modernization of agriculture and rural areas has been discussed in recent Central Rural Work Conferences. Li sees it as a fundamental factor in China’s overall modernization.

“In fact, at present, it is still in a relatively backward situation in the country’s development of modernization,” he told CGTN.

Li mentioned that in the past, China placed significant emphasis on developing the manufacturing industry and the service sector, resulting in the country’s economy becoming larger and stronger.

“Now we need to pay attention to the development of agriculture to ensure the security of the domestic food supply and reduce the degree of dependence on external demand.”

The expert said that China has already made great progress in the modernization of agriculture and rural areas.

“The national policy does attach great importance to it, but it still needs further development,” Li said. “It is also an indispensable link for us to build a strong socialist agricultural country in the future.”

Videographer: Li Bancheng

Video editor: Yang Zhengyao

Cover image: Li Yueyun



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