China Aims for Food Security as Pollution Destroys Crop Land – Businessweek

China must stick to a policy of “basic grain self-sufficiency.” While keeping imports at an “appropriate” level, it must “not relax domestic food production at any time,” decrees the first policy document of the year, issued on Jan. 19 by the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

A farmer working her land next to a lead factory near Hengyang, China

Released every January, the zhongyang yihao wenjian, or “No. 1 Central Document” has for the last 11 years focused on China’s agricultural economy, a reflection of the importance the leadership puts upon China’s countryside and its rural population. Previous versions have emphasized everything from scientific and technological innovation and water conservancy to raising farmers’ incomes and agricultural modernization.

Obsessions with food security are certainly not new. “The idea of storing surplus grain in good times to guard against famine dates back at least as far as the Old Testament, when Joseph gave just such advice to the Pharaoh. Its history in China is almost as long,” wrote Jim Harkness, president of the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in a policy paper back in 2011. (Harkness previously lived and worked for many years in China.)

via China Aims for Food Security as Pollution Destroys Crop Land – Businessweek.

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