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China’s rice, soybean imports top the world in 2017

Updated: Feb 2,2018 9:10 AM     People’s Daily Online

China’s rice and soybean imports continued to top the world in 2017, according to the General Administration of Customs. Experts say food safety is still guaranteed, as the self-sufficiency rate of grain remained over 95 percent, Science and Technology Daily reported.

Statistics by the administration show that China’s total cereals imports in 2017 reached 130.62 million tons, up 13.9 percent than 2016. The imports of soybeans, rice, wheat, and corn were 95.53 million tons, 4.03 million tons, 4.42 million tons, and 2.83 million tons, respectively.

Although China’s total import of cereals surpassed 130 million tons, exceeding one fifth the country’s total grain output, the country’s food safety can still be ensured as the self-sufficiency rate of grain still remained over 95 percent, said Xiao Guoying, a researcher with the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Xiao explained that Chinese people’s food resources depend on rice and wheat, while the imported soybeans and corn are mainly used as oil-bearing crops and fodder.

China’s large import of soybeans in the past decade reflects China’s high demand of imported protein sources to improve Chinese people’s living standard.

The imported transgenic soybeans provide Chinese with 80 percent of edible oil, and are also used as fodder. It ensures the fodder supply of China’s breeding industry and people’s relatively high living standard, Xiao noted.

Chinese scientist Wang Dayuan also stressed that China should have a response plan for the case that soybean imports are influenced by the international situation.