China makes notable progress in achieving food security

14:07, December 24, 2010      

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Olivier De Schutter, a United Nation special rapporteur on the right to food said on Friday that China has made remarkable progress in achieving food secuirty over the past 30 years.

"China has made remarkable progress in achieving food security as a result of 30 years of investment in agriculture and reforms that allowed small-scale farmers in this country to be incredibly productive," Olivier De Schutter told a news conference.

With a population of 1.3 billion, China has 21 percent of the world's population and 9 percent of the world's arable land. China has moved since 2005 from being a beneficiary of food aid to being a donor of food to others, thanks to impressive progress in agricultural production by 200 million rural farmers who have an average land acreage of 0.65 hectares, De Schutter said.

China has achieved a grain self-sufficiency rate of about 95 percent, and its grain reserves are estimated to be more than double the 17-percent safety level recommended by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, he added.

The high productivity of small-scale farming was "the secret of China's success," a Chinese official said.

"Small-scale farming will be more productive if it is sufficiently supported and if small-scale farmers are encouraged to organize themselves at the cooperative level, at the level of village, to achieve certain economic scale," De Schutter said. He praised the Chinese model of combining small farms with collectively-run organizations at the village level.

De Schutter also said that China faces the challenge of improving the situation of people living in rural areas, adding that improving the security of land tenure is important.

He also said China faces the challenges of moving toward more sustainable agriculture and addressing issues of malnutrition in some poverty-sticken regions.

By Zhang Qian, People's Daily Online
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