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Ensure China’s Food Security with Higher Standards


By Li Wei, DRC


In the past five years, China has made major progress in ensuring food security. In implementing the new national food security strategy, China has made efforts to meet domestic demand on practical utilization of food, ensure grain production with hi-tech measures and import grain with a moderate amount. Bolstered by such a strategy, China’s grain production has reached a total of 600 million tons. The government has made headway in agricultural supply-side structural reform, deepened reform of the pricing and storage mechanism for grain and other major agricultural products, and advanced the structural adjustment of agricultural production and products. As a result, the output of meat, poultry, eggs, milk and other products has kept increasing. China has enforced the implementation of poverty alleviation strategy and over 60 million impoverished people have shaken off poverty with a remarkable improvement relating to their food consumption, nutrition and health conditions. Besides, China has implemented the food security strategy, focusing on both production and supervision of food. Consequently, agricultural product safety and food quality have been enhanced, and urban and rural residents have become more satisfied with food safety.

In the past five years, China’s economy has shifted from a high-speed growth to a mid-to-high-speed growth, which has led to mounting pressure on China’s government in advancing industrial structure adjustment, ensuring employment and promoting people’s livelihood. At the 19th CPC National Congress, a major political judgment was made that “the principal contradiction in Chinese society has evolved into a contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life.” The change of social contradiction will definitely exert a far-reaching impact on each sector of China’s development, posing a higher demand on the work of food security. Along with the improvement of people’s income, the growth of the new generation of population and the acceleration of information communications, people’s food consumption pattern has changed from having enough to eat toward hoping for healthy meals. However, on the supply side of agriculture, the people’s new demand is far from being well met, and the development of food security is still evidently unbalanced and inadequate. This kind of unbalance is reflected in the fast production growth but with slow quality improvement and sluggish ecological enhancement. And the inadequacy is featured by the low capability in food security.

China has entered a decisive period in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and embarked on a new journey toward building a modern socialist country. In the new era, we will fully implement a series of new strategies and arrangements proposed in the 19th CPC National Congress to ensure food security for over 1.3 billion Chinese people in a more balanced and adequate manner and with higher standards. First, we need to fully meet the food consumption needs of urban and rural residents through systematic innovations by relying on the market. Only when the market supply and demand could be fully reflected by prices and market entities could properly respond to price performance can the problem be fundamentally resolved. Meanwhile, we need to better leverage the role of the government. The government needs to strengthen policy support, put into practice the quality-oriented and green-based agricultural development, and increase the supply of green, fine-quality and distinctive agricultural products; actively develop the new type of agricultural operation entities and food marketing entities, and enhance the capability of various entities in responding to market performance; and reinforce quality control and market order supervision to construct a traceability network relating to food safety in terms of production, marketing and consumption. Second, we need to strive to improve food security for low income earners and vulnerable social groups in urban and rural areas. The government needs to ensure that the present poor farmers will shake off poverty by 2020, take measures to solidify the achievements and enhance food accessibility for the rural poor people; continue to enhance the subsistence allowance system for the low-income urban residents, including the eligible migrant workers, improve the dynamic adjustment mechanism in which subsistence allowance is linked to consumer price, and ensure the food supply for low-income urban households; and establish a direct food assistance system for those poor people deprived of or with inadequate labor capabilities. The government also needs to continue with the implementation of the nutritional improvement plan for rural compulsory education students. The food macro-control mechanism needs to be improved to reduce the impact resulting from fierce food price fluctuations on food consumption of urban and rural residents. Third, we need to fully implement the strategy based on farmland management and the application of technology so as to ensure China’s food production security. With regard to land management, we need to focus on both the enhancement of healthy capacity and the reduction of marginal capacity. As regards the application of technology, it is imperative for us to leverage the supportive role of science and technology. Fourth, we need to proactively participate in global food security governance and enhance our capability in ensuring global food security. In line with the requirement to form an overall new landscape for opening-up, we will innovate the international agricultural cooperation mechanism, enhance the global food production capacity, play our due role as a responsible power, take proactive part in global food safety governance, and help maintain the global market order for food trade. Based on the Center for International Knowledge on Development and relevant platforms, we will contribute China’s wisdom to implementing and finally realizing the goals set forth in UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.