Guest essay by Eric Worrall
China is not having a good year. Following China’s largely self inflicted Covid-19 disaster, and months of extreme rain pushing floodwaters against the structurally questionable Three Gorges dam, failure of which could wash away China’s industrial and agricultural heartland with a
31 billion 39 trillion litre inland tsunami, reports are now appearing claiming there is a looming Chinese food shortage.
China corn video stokes food security fears amid coronavirus pandemic, flooding and drought
Beijing criticises local move to ban mobile devices from granaries, says investigation shows no problem with corn quality
Suspicions about quantity and quality of corn stockpiles arose due to a recent jump in market price and record purchases from United States
Published: 8:23pm, 3 Aug, 2020
China’s state agency in charge of its strategic grain stockpiles has sparked concern over the quality of national grain reserves, particularly corn, after a local unit moved to ban all photo-taking devices from its granaries.
The device ban followed the online posting of a video showing a pile of corn from a Sinograin warehouse in Zhaodong, a county-level city outside Zhaozhou, in mid-July.
The ban on carrying mobile phones into granaries further fuelled online speculation that the state-owned grain reserve agency could be hiding a deterioration in the quality of stockpiles and was moving to prevent exposure.
Much of the grain appeared to be mouldy and mixed with bits of dirt and other foreign matter. The clip circulated on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.
…Read more: https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3095862/china-corn-video-stokes-public-food-security-fears-amid
China is importing unusual quantities of food.
China Food Crisis? Rising Domestic Prices And Large Import Purchases Send A Signal
35,674 views|Jul 28, 2020,05:34pm EDT
Above average rainfall and rising floodwaters are not just threatening to compromise China’s gargantuan Three Gorges Dam; rain and flooding are already disrupting rice, wheat and other crop production in the provinces all along the entire Yangtze River.
Perhaps this is why China, which holds just over half of the world’s wheat inventories and is the globe’s second largest producer of wheat (behind the European Union), has already imported more wheat in the first half of 2020 than it has in the first half of any year in the past decade. In the month of June alone, China’s single month import volume of wheat from all sources was the highest in seven years.
…Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/salgilbertie/2020/07/28/china-food-crisis-rising-domestic-prices-and-large-import-purchases-send-a-signal/
Obviously it is difficult to confirm anything about China, particularly when what you are trying to confirm is bad news. The rotting corn video ban might just be a heavy handed official trying to conceal a local issue at a single storage depot.
But if flooding and wet conditions have severely impacted China’s agricultural sector, there is a risk ongoing Chinese food purchases this year could trigger a substantial global food price spike.
Correction (EW): h/t Scute, Three Gorges dam holds 39 trillion litres, not 31 billion litres.