China aims to seek self-sufficiency in rice and wheat, while vowing to reduce corn stockpiles and acreage this year as part of agriculture reforms. Falling domestic corn prices after the government ended its price-support system last year should lead farmers to reduce acreage this year, Agriculture Minister Han Changfu said at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing. The reform has spurred market demand and led to the restarting of corn processors which were previously halted. “What we are lacking now is good quality and ‘green’ farm products,” Han said. Despite a slight decrease in total grain production last year, China still aims to stabilize the area planted to rice and wheat and ensure “absolute” self-sufficiency in the staple grains, including increasing subsidies in major producing regions. The ministry will also tackle agriculture pollution by reducing use of fertilizer and pesticides and asking large-scale livestock farms to treat animal waste within five years, Han said.
About 65 percent of Chinese depend on rice as a staple food. Chinese scientists are carrying out various experiments and studies to enhance Chinese rice production. In this regards, they had recently identified a plant gene which can help fight rice blast, a major global disease that savages crops and reduces the use of harmful pesticides. Rice blast is a fungus and a major crop irritant worldwide including China. It can destroy grain production up to half. So far, over 30 domestic companies and breeders have used discovery for molecular breeding to allow new rice varieties with better disease resistance effects and raise rice production.