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China Mobilizes To Secure and Expand Food Supply

April 17, 2022 (EIRNS)—In response to the crisis in global food production and resulting famine threat, the Chinese government is mobilizing all resources, public and private, to cooperate in securing China’s food supply through concerted investment in expanding land under production and fostering scientific breakthroughs in seed technologies, tillage practices, and improving the productivity of livestock and poultry stocks. It is clear from recent weeks’ reports in the Chinese media that Chinese policymakers and scholars are systematically reviewing China’s stockpiles of different basic foods, identifying import-dependencies and weak spots in the domestic food supply, and taking measures to remedy them, in order to protect their people, and as many others as they can, if the Western drive for global economic decoupling continues to advance.

In the midst of fears of a potential food crisis internationally, Global Times noted, China’s ability to feed its 1.4 billion people—nearly 20% of the world’s population—is “a huge relief to the global food system.”

Take the case of seed technology, an area where President Xi Jinping is providing personal leadership. On April 10, he visited one of the leading seed laboratories in Nanfan Science and Technology Center in Sanya, Hainan, where he was given a detailed briefing on the science and technology city generally, a tour of the lab and its various facilities (including its center of precision molecular design breeding) and talked with the research staff. Xi told the researchers that China must develop a seed industry of its own, if it is to secure food for its people, and urged them to focus on making breakthroughs which will secure the national food supply in the patriotic spirit of previous generations.

China has been improving its seed production capabilities, but it still relies on imports of some seeds. It is developing its genetic resources and gene-editing technology, but has a way to go to catch up with the United States, for example, which has compiled a complete gene bank, to which China has no access. China is now assembling its own.

Nanfan, which means “breeding in the south,” is the center of seed technology development. Every year, from September until May of the following year, more than 8,000 Chinese agricultural scientists and workers from 700 institutions around the country gather at Nanfan Technology City to collaborate on developing the nation’s seed base and technology. Branches of over 600 agricultural firms, Chinese and foreign, have been set up in this area.

In the second of a three-part series on food security, this one published on April 7, Global Times outlined some of the parameters of this national mobilization to ensure “ ‘Chinese Rice’ in ‘Chinese bowl.’ ” It credits “the central government’s early agro-layout, a well-established national reserve system, as well as a top to bottom emergency mechanism,” for making this food security possible.

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