Developing Countries Will Lead Global Rice Import Growth in 2013-22, Says USDA Rice growers positive California MG prices are UP Russia MG Harvest coming to end Egypt open rice exports Vietnam’s rice export in tough competition with India Thai rice exports in May Rise Above Target This Year Viet-Nam Rice exports likely to fall this year
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China is determined to fill its own rice bowl
China is the world's biggest rice consumer and has resorted to imports in recent years to meet growing demand at home where grain prices have swayed widely.

"If China imports large amounts of rice the impact to the world grain market would be huge. It would not be good for the stability of world rice price," said Zhou Guanhua from the State Grain Administration.

To ensure its self sufficiency in grains, China has a clear message for its farmers -- grow more rice.

Chinese analysts and industry officials attending a global rice conference in Beijing said although China might be importing rice in the next few years, it would mainly be for a few higher premium grades.

"The government will do everything possible to give incentives to farmers to grow more rice," said Ning Gaoning, Chairman of China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation, known as COFCO, the country's top grain trader.

Industry officials said rice would be at the top of Beijing's priority list. The country might see shortfalls in wheat and corn in coming years and may have to import some of those grains.

Cheng Guoqiang, a researcher with the State Council Development Research Center, said China would succeed in restoring a surplus in rice production by 2020, despite its population set to rise to 1.45 billion from 1.3 billion.

"Rice is the most important commodity in securing China's grain safety," Cheng told the conference, "The government will continue its special reserve system for many years."

"We have to rely on our rice fields as we can not source enough rice if domestic production falls," said Cheng.

China's rice consumption is about five times the global rice trade, estimated at 25-26 million tonnes a year.

A spike in grain prices in 2003 as stocks dwindled set off alarm bells, forcing the government to introduce a series of measures, like direct subsidies. This, coupled with miniumum rice prices, demonstrated Beijing's capability to raise rice output.

Output in 2005 showed a second increase in a row, reaching 182 million tonnes --- up from 179 million last year and up 13 percent from a recent low of 161 million tonnes in 2003.

Chinese grain authorities started procuring rice in June when the market price fell below the minimum price of 1,400 yuan (97 pounds) a tonne under the weight of early harvest.


Officials and analysts said while China's rice consumption is likely to rise in coming years, it might hit its peak in 2010.

Although urban residents consume more rice and people in the north are increasingly shifting to rice from wheat, rural consumption of rice is declining as people in the countryside can now afford more vegetables or meat, they said.

Cheng estimated China's paddy consumption to be about 178.8 million tonnes by 2020, against expected output of 183 million, leaving China with an export surplus of 3.3 million tonnes.

Industry officials said Beijing would further drum up efforts to raise productivity in the country's 11th five-year plan, starting 2006. It has tightened controls to protect farmland, despite its economic growth likely to expand more than 7-8 percent each year for the next 10-15 years.
MGR Archive 30.10.2005
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