Business / Industries

Imports of major grains surge in first 10 months

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-12-25 17:06

BEIJING - China imported 10.09 million tons of wheat, corn and rice during the first 10 months of 2012, rising sharply from the same period last year, according to a Ministry of Agriculture spokesman on Tuesday.

Bi Meijia, chief economist and MOA spokesman said at a press conference that the country's imports of wheat, corn and rice in the January-October period was up by 9.29 tons year-on-year.

The figure stood at 3.57 million tons for the whole of 2011.

Bi said that the surge was partly attributed to consumers' diversified grain comsuption demand, especially a preference for high-quality imported rice and wheat.

Corn, an ingredient for animal feed and an important industrial raw material, also faces tightening supply as the farming and deep processing industries develop, Bi added.

Imports of the three products, which counted for less than 2 percent of their domestic outputs, will not threaten the country's grain security and the goal of achieving a balanced aggregate supply, according to Bi.

China's grain output rose 3.2 percent year on year in 2012 to hit 589.57 million tonnes, marking the ninth consecutive year of growth, according to National Bureau of Statistics data.

Bi said China will likely encounter limited room for further increase if only by expanding its planting area. The country has to rely on technology to enhance the yield level for each unit of land.

China will continue to develop agricultural technology and farming equipment. At the same time, it will carry out support policies for farmers and foster a group of producers who will provide steady grain yield, according to Bi.

By doing so, China can guarantee its grain security and "hold the rice bowl firmly in our hands," Bi added.

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