China’s insistence on grain self-sufficiency may be starting to wane as its growing urban population demands more meat, according to an article from the Financial Times.
From the article, “Until recently, China only imported small amounts of premium-grade rice, minor quantities of wheat and almost no corn, insisting on self-sufficiency. But that is changing: already the world’s biggest importer of soyabeans, China is now adding cereals such as corn, wheat, barley and rice to its shopping list.”
That shift could have a profound impact on global grain markets as the country already has tripled its grain imports so far this year. That buying already has made China the world’s second-largest importer of rice and barley, a top 10 buyer of corn and a top 20 of wheat.
The main driver to this trend is dietary changes as more of China’s population moves to cities, where they typically eat more meat, which requires more animal feed crops.
The article goes on to say that although China still has an official policy that mandates 95% self-sufficiency in corn, rice and wheat, recent comments suggest that insistence is starting to wane.