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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

China's Food Security Threatened By Land, Soil, And Water Issues

China, the world's biggest agriculture importer, has set targets to drastically reduce its reliance on overseas purchases over the coming decade in line with its push for food security.


The figures may explain why China has resorted to bullying tactics in disputed territories such as the West Philippine Sea. I Photo: Philippine Coast Guard



However, experts say these targets will be exceedingly difficult to meet, Reuters reported.


With limited land and water resources, China will need to sharply increase farming productivity through technology, including genetically modified (GM) crops, and expand the area under cultivation to meet Beijing's 10-year projections.



The government aims for 92% self-sufficiency in staple grains and beans by 2033, up from 84% from 2021 to 2023, according to a document released in late April.


China envisions becoming an "agriculture power" by 2050. Food security is a longstanding priority for China, which must feed nearly 20% of the global population with less than 9% of its arable land and 6% of its water resources, Channel News Asia (CNA) also reported.



Cutting imports would impact countries like the US, Brazil, and Indonesia, which have expanded capacity to meet demand from China's 1.4 billion people, the world's largest market for soybeans, meat, and grains.


Over the next decade, the agriculture ministry projects a 75% decrease in corn imports to 6.8 million tons and a 60% drop in wheat imports to 4.85 million tons.



For soybeans, the biggest item on a farm import bill that totaled $234 billion last year, Beijing anticipates imports falling 21% to 78.7 million tons in a decade. These targets defy past trends, with grains and oilseed imports surging 87% over the last decade.




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