CHINA — Chinese authorities have revealed that the nation will be keen on increasing its corn acreage to meet the spiking demand of the yellow grain.
According to a statement from Tang Renjian, the new Chinese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the government is currently focusing on expanding corn acreage in the northeast and around the Yellow River, Huai River and Hai River.
The new push for increasing corn production comes after China depleted its corn reserves due to rising corn prices.
Importers have been bringing in record amounts of corn especially from the United States to fill the demand.
Prices have also been soaring due to the acute shortage. Reuters reported that in recent weeks, prices for physical corn edged past those for wheat for the first time in more than five years, and futures prices also converged within the last two months.
China had been decreasing corn planting for a few years now in an effort to reduce its stockpile and encourage production of other crops such as soybean, Reuters reported.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China planted 41.264 million hectares of corn in 2020 with an output of 260.67 million tonnes of grain.
The decreased acreage for corn was partly due to the government providing more attractive subsidies for soybeans which are largely grown in the same regions as corn.
The scarcity of corn in China could also be attributed to a government policy in 2016 that saw the country begin to steadily trim back corn plantings each year to relieve the massive inventories.
For the year 2018 and 2019, these policies did little impact on the country’s reserves of the yellow corn as the country’s hog herd – the main consumer of corn- was ravaged by African swine fever, decreasing its number to about 40% of its original size.
China’s pig and sow herd had however recovered to more than 90% of normal levels as of last month after having plunged by around 40% a little more than a year ago.
Feed demand has now returned to previous levels causing a major drawdown on the country’s reserves and necessitating huge imports of the grain.
The government in effort to address this disparity in demand and supply is now setting out to increase the acreage of land under the grain.
China has also been diversifying its suppliers making it certainly seem like an acknowledgment that imports are necessary to guarantee food security, at least for now.
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