China, Global Market
Chinese Agriculture Goes Global
Yale Global online05.01.2015Read original
China faces a challenge: feeding its own nation. With the rising of food demand and its reduced arable land, the world second largest economy is turning to overseas farming to sustain its own food needs. Its not surprising Africa, which owns 60% of the world’s uncultivated land suited for crop production, is a very appealing destination. In the coming years Africa could emerge as a major provider of agricultural products to China. In return, China may also contribute to consolidating food security in Africa and other regions with its investment and expertise.
China is the world’s second largest economy, but ironically, food security is emerging as one of the main concerns for China’s communist leaders. During a visit to an Argentinian farm in July President Xi Jinping said: “If China is going to grow, it must solve its grain problem for its 1.3 billion population first.” Measures taken by China to address the problem – going to the world – may not be a panacea.
As China grows wealthier, food consumption and diet have undergone a dramatic transformation. Between 1985 and 2005 meat consumption in China quadrupled, reaching 59.5 kilos per person a year, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Meat consumption is likely to continue to increase in coming years as more Chinese are expected to join the ranks of the expanding middle class. By 2020, meat consumption is expected to grow by 35 percent from current levels. Chinese are also developing a voracious appetite for certain delicacies taken for granted in the West such as coffee, spices, vegetables like asparagus and exotic fruits like avocados and blueberries. China is home to 22 percent of the world’s population, but possesses around 7 percent of its arable land – 334.6 million hectares. However, in recent years the county’s arable land has been shrinking as a result of serious environmental damage such as soil erosion, deforestation and pollution of rivers and lakes. In November Chinese officials reported that more than 40 percent of China’s arable land is suffering from degradation[…]