This year's corn crop is expected to reach a record high of more than 180 million tons, said a senior expert from a State think tank.
But fast-growing domestic demand means that the bigger harvest is unlikely to offset the surging corn imports, which will probably show a "mild and stable increase" over the next few years, said Xu Xiaoqing, the director of the Department for Rural Economic Development at the Development Research Center of the State Council, a top State think tank.
China uses 105 million tons of corn a year for animal feed, with another 60 million to 70 million tons used in the processing sector for such products as starch, citric acid and ethanol. Increased meat consumption in China has generated extra demand for corn as animal feed. Also, industrial demand for starch and ethanol is increasing, putting upward pressure on corn imports.
According to the General Administration of Customs, corn imports in 2010 reached a record high of 1.57 million tons, a staggering increase of 17.6 times that of the previous year. The surge in imports has prompted worries about food supplies. But the imports accounted for less than 1 percent of the nation's bulk domestic production, and the percentage is likely to remain very small, posing no challenge to the China's corn self-sufficiency, Xu said.
Wednesday September 14, 2011/ China Daily.