The fifth Chinese farmers’ harvest festival will fall on Friday as the country is poised to embrace another bumper grain harvest in a challenging year for global food security.
With some nine per cent of the world’s arable land, China needs to feed nearly one-fifth of the global population.
For President Xi Jinping, food security is among the country’s most fundamental interests.
Over the past decade, food security has remained high on the agenda of Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
‘EATING MATTERS MOST’
Xi has on multiple occasions emphasised the importance of securing adequate food for the people. While meeting national political advisors in March, he said that of all things, eating matters most and food is the most basic necessity of the people.
He has called on the country to be well-prepared and remain vigilant concerning food security, and adhere to the principle of self-sufficiency based on domestic grain production, guaranteed production capacity, moderate food imports, and technological support.
China has incorporated the implementation of the food security strategy into its outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035.
The outline calls for efforts to ensure absolute security of grain and the supply of important sideline agricultural products, and to promote legislation concerning food security.
The country, in this regard, passed an anti-food waste law in 2021, with the goal of establishing a long-term framework for preventing food waste, which is vital for ensuring national food security. It has also announced that a food security law will be formulated this year.
SEEDS AND SOIL
Xi has also highlighted the importance of seeds and farmland on multiple occasions.
During an April visit to a seed laboratory in Sanya, Hainan Province, Xi said seed resources must be “firmly held in our own hands” to ensure food security. He stressed efforts to achieve self-reliance in seed technology and ensure that China’s seed resources are self-supporting and under better control.
In this year’s “No. 1 Central Document” released in February, the development of the seed industry is outlined as one of the country’s policy priorities, with specific moves such as implementing an action plan concerning the seed industry, promoting germplasm collection and enhancing intellectual property protection in the sector.
So far, the number of national seed breeding and production bases in China has increased to 216, official data showed. These hubs breed or produce seeds for grain, cotton, oil and sugar, among others.
Regarding farmland protection, Xi once emphasized that farmland is the lifeline of grain production and the foundation for the sustainable development of the Chinese nation.
Farmland is for farming and can only be used to grow crops, especially grain crops, he has said.
Under Xi’s leadership, China adheres to the strictest farmland protection system, striving to ensure its farmland area remains above the red line of 120 million hectares. China has also pledged to expedite the formulation of a farmland protection law, a further step to safeguard farmland.
At the end of 2019, China had a total of 128 million hectares of farmland, according to a national land survey. The country plans to develop 6.67 million hectares of high-standard farmland this year.