CHINA Xi's focus on food security pays off amid COVID-19 epidemic

CHINA

Xi's focus on food security pays off amid COVID-19 epidemic

People's Daily app

22:53, April 15, 2020

Chinese President Xi Jinping has on many occasions stressed food security, saying that “the rice bowl of the Chinese people, in any situation, must be firmly held in our own hands.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its global spread, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned of a possible strain on food security due to a labor shortage and supply chain disruption.

“The more risks and challenges we face, the more we need to stabilize agriculture and ensure the safety of grain and major non-staple foods,” Xi said in a recent instruction on spring farming in the country.

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(File Photo: Xinhua; Poster by Liu Kejun and Zhang Jian /People's Daily app)

For a populous country, food self-sufficiency is vital for dealing with possible risks and challenges and sustaining socio-economic development.

Xi always attaches great importance to domestic food production. During an inspection tour of Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province in 2018, he held up a bowl of rice with both hands and said “Chinese grain! Chinese rice bowl!” at an agriculture and agricultural machinery center.

At a leadership meeting chaired by Xi on April 8, he urged efforts to advance spring agricultural production and maintain a stable market supply and prices of non-staple foods, including pork, vegetables and fruits.

Chinese officials said that the country can have a steady food supply despite the novel coronavirus. At a press conference of the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council on April 4, officials said that China’s grain output has been above 650 million tons for five consecutive years and reached a record of 664 million tons last year.

Xi has made multiple requests on farmland protection, agricultural modernization and mobilizing farmers’ enthusiasm.

"Arable land is the country's most valuable asset... we should protect it the way we protect pandas," Xi said.

Food security has been a top state issue for Xi. China will never slacken its efforts to protect food security, as food security is the foundation for sustainable development.

(Compiled by Huang Jingjing and Jiao Jingxian)

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