Grain supply in China

US environmentalist Lester Brown, the author of the book Plan B and Who Will Feed China, warned last November that sudden food price hikes in China could be the sign of a coming world food crisis. A reporter from BBC is discussing this issue with an official from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.

B: The past six months have witnessed dramatic rises in grain prices in China, which in turn have triggered a price hike in edible oil, vegetable, meat and other farm produce. Do you think there will be a grain crisis in China as has been predicted?

C: 这是一个很复杂的问题,各方面的研究也众说纷纭,但是国内的研究普遍乐观的,可以肯定的是近年内中国粮食生产应该有所保障

B: Then what exactly is causing the shortfall in grain output, which has resulted in this sharp increase in grain prices?

C: 主要原因是耕地面积减少,一方面经济发展造成了耕地占用, 另一方面近年来退耕还林政策也造成了耕地减少。

B: At the beginning of this year, China signed contracts with US businesses in Chicago which consisted of deals for 1.4 billion dollars worth of soybeans. Do you think China will rely heavily on import in the future?

C: 中国不只是进口国,也是出口国,虽然将来有扩大进口的趋势,然而这不会对中国和世界造成严重危机,我们相信中国可以一边养活自己,一边发展自己。

B: It is said that in many regions, grain production is still heavily dependant on the weather. Do you think there is still potential for China's grain yields to increase? 

C: 充分发挥科技作用,粮食产量提高应该说还有很大空间,同时政府也决心更加严格地管理和有效地利用土地。

B: In what ways does the government offer incentives to farmers for them to grow grain?

C: 大量进口粮食会降低国内市场的价格,从而打击农民的积极性,从这个角度来讲限制进口也是必要的。当然我们更要从税收方面给予优惠