China’s food self-sufficiency ratio has plummeted to 76% in 2020, sparking worries of a food shortage. While the government reassures the people that food reserves are plentiful, China is highly dependent on imported food and its area of arable land is declining. China clearly needs to come up with innovative economic, social, environmental and agricultural policies if it hopes to become an “agricultural power” and avoid a food crisis.
Cooperatives that used to manage agricultural and other daily resources in China faded away during China's reform and opening up, but recently, they were highlighted again by the state media and promoted in various regions. Chinese people are concerned if this means that the government is going to further tighten its grip on the economy or that China is preparing for the likelihood of containment and even war?
Chinese agricultural economist Wen Tiejun has landed in hot water after proposing the concept of a “people-oriented” economy. Critics believe that this is moving away from China’s reform and opening up, while others see the benefits towards common prosperity. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan tells us more about the maelstrom of controversy ahead of the 20th Party Congress.
Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao showcases photographs of Singapore at the cusp of great change, from a more rural environment with many kelongs and farms to a bustling trade, finance and tourism hub. Through it all, the Singapore River has witnessed many of these changes, as seen in this collection.
The Covid-19 pandemic has badly hit the Chinese economy, with ordinary folk bearing the brunt of the impact. Migrant workers and rural farmers have had to pivot to other fields to make ends meet, and even then the outlook is still grim. Can the authorities safeguard its efforts in poverty alleviation and rural revitalisation? Zaobao journalists Miao Zong-Han and Zeng Shi look into the issue.
After its major reforms in late 2013, China adopted a dual approach to safeguard its food security. But it has faced several challenges along the way. To cope with the situation, Beijing is diving deep into agricultural science and technology, exploring future foods, mining the potential of “blue territories” and getting local governments and citizens on board. But the proof of the pudding will very much be in tackling extreme weather and other external events.
Technology expert Yin Ruizhi notes that one sector in which technology is lacking is traditional agriculture. Due to the scattered nature of the sector, it is difficult to implement technological solutions to production and sales. However, tech company Pinduoduo holds the power to integrate the market and reach buyers and sellers across the country.
With China seeing virus outbreaks in various areas, local governments have been ramping up anti-epidemic measures. The farming sector has been hit hard, especially considering the spring planting season that needs all hands on deck. But despite recent notices from the authorities calling for smooth movement of agricultural supplies and labour, the implementation on the ground may not be easy.
China’s Two Sessions annual meetings commenced this week amid the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang outlined the key theme of “stability first” for China's economic growth and geopolitical outlook. Despite some calls for an armed reunification with Taiwan, Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan says that nothing can distract China from its priority for stability, as it progresses towards building a modern China by 2035 amid challenges in its internal and external affairs.