Failure in ensuring food security can erode CCP legitimacy in China

    The Hawk
    May18/ 2023


    Beijing: Beijing's increasing reliance on imports, making it dependent on a number of foods is likely to result in China becoming vulnerable in various ways that could be used against it in a crisis, Toronto-based Geopolitical Monitor, an international intelligence publication reported.
    The subject of food security in China has received widespread media attention suddenly after Xi Jinping's recent article on agricultural self-reliance in Qiushi Journal, a publication of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), compared it to national security.
    Xi argued in his article that the Russia-Ukraine crisis has shown that agriculture has turned into a "foundation of national security" and urged making food self-sufficiency a major priority in the upcoming years.
    China's per capita grain production increased just a little under Xi, from 462.5 kg in 2013 to 483.5 kg in 2021. This has led to an increase in import dependency during the same period, which, in Xi's opinion, is a national security worry, Geopolitical Monitor reported.
    In comparison to other nations, China currently imports the most soybean, corn, wheat, rice, and dairy goods, and this dependence has mostly grown over the past ten years.
    The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation has defined three levels of food self-sufficiency. Below 80 per cent is considered a food deficit, between 80 pc-120 pc as food self-sufficiency and above 120 per cent as a food surplus country.

    China's food self-sufficiency rate decreased from 101.8 pc in 2000 to 76.8 pc in 2020 and is further expected to fall to 65 pc by 2035 if timely measures are not implemented. Rising import dependency on crucial food items has largely worsened China's food security, according to Geopolitical Monitor.
    Several consumers across China are increasingly choosing imported goods due to factors such as shrinking cultivable land, fewer productive seeds, increased expenses of home production, and worries about the safety of local brands.
    As a result, despite having a high level of domestic production, China has turned into a net importer of food since 2004. In addition to being overly reliant on imported food grains, China is also overly reliant on imported seeds, particularly for non-staple food. The seeds sector in China, known as the "chips of agriculture," is similarly plagued by poor quality, ineffectiveness, and a lack of innovation, the Toronto-based publication said in its report.
    China only had around 9 per cent of global arable land (around 2.3 billion mu) by 2019 to feed over 20 per cent of the global population. Thus, new Premier Li Qiang has emphasised China's goal to boost agriculture production by concentrating on expanding arable land.
    The realization of economic benefit to common citizens has been the bedrock of the CPC's legitimacy in China. However, failure in ensuring food security can rapidly erode this legitimacy.
    As per Geopolitical Monitor, this was made clear by the demonstrators' demand for food during the Sitong Bridge demonstration a few days prior to the 20th Party Congress rather than COVID tests.
    Furthermore, the problem has repercussions for China's foreign policy considerations, as shown by the trade war's use of China's dependence on US soybeans. (ANI)

    Categories :WorldTags :CCP China Failure