The planning of the 13th five-year plan (2016-2020) foresees that China will increase its cereal and oilseed imports instead than rising its domestic production, according to what the Ministry of Agriculture of Spain has published in its Foreign News bulletin.
During the last 11 years, China has increased its domestic production in an effort to keep its self-supply levels high. So, this decision entails a very important qualitative change in the agricultural policy in China, where self-supply has been a strategic choice considered as fixed up to now. The increase in the Chinese imports will surely have an impact on the availability of certain products, such as maize and soybeans, in the international markets and will make the prices rise.
As a consequence of the growth in population and the rising urbanisation process, it is expected that the cereal and oilseed demand in China will increase from 600 million tonnes in 2014 to 700 million tonnes in 2020, and it is then expected that there will be a difference of 100 million tonnes between domestic demand and production. This difference will have to be met with imports. Nevertheless, the Chinese cereal imports had already been growing significantly in the last years, going from 3.2 million tonnes in 2009 to 19.5 million tonnes in 2014. The oilseed imports, specifically soybean, have grown even more, going from 42.6 million tonnes in 2009 to 71.4 million tonnes in 2014. This trend is going on in 2015, because in the first nine months of this year China has already imported 52.8 million tonnes: 13% more than in the same period in 2014. Despite this, China still plans on being self-sufficient with regard to cereals for human consumption, especially rice and wheat, so the imports will mainly be grains for animal feeding.
Thursday, 5 November 2015/ Foreign News/ MAGRAMA/ Spain.