How is China able to provide enough food to feed its population of over 1 billion people? Do they import food or are they self-sustainable?
While China’s land is 20 to 30% arable, their ability with farming means that they are a net exporting of produce. Where China was importing was because many regional areas grew local varieties of crops. So in the north the corn could be yellow, white, purple or speckled. In the far south I have had sweet corn that was so sweet it was like eating candy. They were importing because industrial farming and food processing is all about consistent quality.
Another note is China is one of the few places in the world that successfully does fish farming. Of course they have been doing this for 2000 years. Their farming culture is often very efficient in terms of land use, though not in terms of labour use.
In recent years the growing suburbs around the cities have put pressure on land use and they are losing a lot of farm land. In addition the growing wealth means that they eat more meat, which is far less efficient.
China has taken steps to secures its own food supply by buying land around the world, in particular in Africa. But China doesn’t need to import food as such, it just needs to ensure food supply for the future and in times of disasters like flood and drought.
Vyndar Lothar, lived in China (2008-2011)
China’s 1.4 billion people are building up an appetite that is changing the way the world grows and sells food. The Chinese diet is becoming more like that of the average American, forcing companies to scour the planet for everything from bacon to bananas.
But China’s efforts to buy or lease agricultural land in developing nations show that building farms and ranches abroad won’t be enough. Ballooning populations in Asia, Africa and South America will add another 2 billion people within a generation and they too will need more food.
That leaves China with a stark ultimatum: If it is to have enough affordable food for its population in the second half of this century, it will need to make sure the world grows food for 9 billion people.
Its answer is technology.
Carolyn Patton, former Retired teacher , economics World History US Hist at Detroit Public Schools (1984-2009)
They have been buying agricultural products from us , exclusively until the Donald started the tariff game now the are courting the world for agricultural products . Soy beans are a good example , the Chinese are now looking for markets in South America , Sub Sahara Africa and both Eastern and Western Europe. The farmers in the United States are going to be hurt by this move because they know their price will be under cut by the South American , and the African countries and that market will be lost and gone forever. China does not have enough land to feed all of its population so now since they are no longer destitute they can afford to buy food on cheaper markets . Guess the US farmers will have to start growing weed. The President doesn't understand that when America was great back in the day was because everybody else was broke and hungry. Now the only broke and hungry people on this planet are those caught in a war, such as in Yemen. So when you take your ball and go home nobody gets upset ,the game keeps on going because they all have a ball to play with. The United States is going to have to start treating nonwhite people as human beings and not something other than . Because they are the ones with the wealth not the Europeans.
Rich Coffman, lives in China (2012-present)
On a simpler note, I have lived in China going on 6 years now and enjoy getting up at 6am to visit all the farmers bringing their goods to the street market for sale. If you like to cook, food is pretty cheap here.
In the neighborhoods nearby, the age groups that are in the more senior sector, have a history of living without food during the Cultural Revolution years and before. From this, they have acquired a habit of being frugal and at the same time are very resourceful when it comes to utilizing every patch of land to grow food even if it is as small as 5 meters square.
Food is part of the culture here and sometimes there’s even a bitter exchange of whose bit of “patch” you are planting on which requires the local authorities to step in and manage the issue.
Overall, you never have to worry about food. Almost every street corner has someone selling cooked Chinese style meals. And it’s all good!
Samantha Gordon, former Construction Manager at Jadi Astute
China only accounts for 7% of the world's land, but this 7% of the land has 21% of the population. It is 7% of the land in this area, but it has fed 21% of the people and is called a miracle by the world. At present, China holds the area of cultivated land, which is ranked after the United States, India, and Russia, ranking fourth in the world. But China can create such a miracle, and everyone must be very curious?
Although the average Chinese arable land is extremely small, the Chinese are particularly hardworking. Every Chinese knows how to make good usage of every inch of land. Chinese farmers can be said become the essential hardworking group on the planet. They do not have vacations. 365 days a year, committed, and diligent and intensive for lifelong.
And China's agricultural technology is currently increasingly more developed, like the renowned hybrid rice. Whenever Yuan Longping drilled to the area daily to examine hybrid rice, the last study and development was successful, which made a great share on production of Asia's grain and allowed the limited land to create even more food.
Moreover, the Chinese go nment has vigorously rectified the water conservancy and water conservation jobs. Nowadays, it's very difficult for China having a big flood in the basin, and possesses a great affect lasting meals production.
They do import some food, but not a lot of it.
Keep in mind though - they are almost identical in size to the US, QUITE A BIT BIGGER if you exclude Alaska (most of which is NOT FARMABLE) and I’d estimate the US could sustain 1.5 billion or so if we pulled out ALL the stops on our agriculture to maximize output.
Corn ALONE we put massive amounts into ethanol production, we EXPORT massive amounts of wheat and corn most years along with a lot of soybeans, we don’t HAVE to have huge quantities of cattle that are very INefficient at converting grain to food)….
If their pop goes up another 200 million though, they are going to have some serious issues - but their massive “stop pop growth” efforts of the last 30–40 years seems to have them headed for a pop IMPLOSION in about 20 more years….
Bengt Persson, Attempting to understand complex systems for 50 years
Most of the China population lives in eastern rice plains, with good rice framing climate and soil, that could sustain >200 people per sq km with traditional methods. To compare, typical American suburbs have a lower population density.
Better rice variants and farming methods introduced during the last decades have allowed a further increase of rice production per sh km.
On the other hand the expectation on food quality and mix have also increased in China, resulting in a need to either import e.g. meat or use former rice land for meat production, which gives less energy per sq km.
Francine Rizza, Author and Bespoke China Tour Organiser (2013-present)
China is the biggest wheat, vegetable and fruit grower in the World.
Although China's agricultural output is the largest in the world, only 12.6% of its total land area can be cultivated. China's arable land, which represents 10% of the total arable land in the world, supports over 20% of the world's population.
Of this approximately 1.4 million square kilometers of arable land, only about 1.2% (116,580 square kilometers) permanently supports crops and 525,800 square kilometers are irrigated.
The land is divided into approximately 200 million households, with an average land allocation of just 0.65 hectares (1.6 acres).
China's limited space for farming has been a problem throughout its history, leading to chronic food shortage and famine. While the production efficiency of farmland has grown over time, efforts to expand to the west and the north have met with limited success, as such land is generally colder and drier than traditional farmlands to the east. Since the 1950s, farm space has also been pressured by the increasing land needs of industry and cities.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/p/49961.html 译者：Joyceliu
Thomas Adams, former Interagency Rep
China is a net importer of agricultural products. Some commentators seem to believe that this is somehow a criticism of China, it is not. China produces most of its own meat and dairy products, but imports of these products are also significant. The mix of agricultural imports is diversifying as China’s purchases of fruits, nuts, cassava, sugar, wine, breeding stock, and processed food imports rise. Discussion: Food security is seen as very important for internal stability, the primary concern of the China). Extreme measures have been taken to increase domestic production but a rising population, changing food demands (e.g. more meat) and China’s lack of arable land have made it a major importer of food. Rising steadily with China’s development during the 1990s food imports have now reached about US$29 billion from the US alone. Other countries exporting to China include those with large amounts of arable land including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina. BTW: China is a world leader in aquaculture (i.e. fish farming)
John Bickel, Quality/process Review in a Data Center Company
They don’t produce enough food to feed their population; they import quite a bit. They are exporting plenty of food too; it’s funny how the economics of import and export work out. I live in Thailand and per my understanding quite a bit of food is being sent there (fruit, rice, etc.), and something like Snickers bars would often be produced in China and imported back to here.
When I first visited China nearly a decade ago (maybe 9 years back?) I was curious about how crowded it would look, and issues like this, how sustaining such a large population would go. I was a bit surprised that it didn’t look any different than anywhere else. Housing density can be higher, but that stands out more in Hong Kong than where I’ve been in China (Shenzhen, Beijing, and Shanghai).