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Digital network to boost grain security

By Hou Liqiang | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-07 07:38

China plans to digitize the management of its grain industry by 2020 to enhance food security, as grain transportation between provinces and the amount of imported grain have been high in recent years, State authorities said.

One national management platform and 20 provincial ones will be established by the end of next year, and the whole country will be covered by a digital network by 2020, Zhang Wufeng, head of the State Administration of Grain, said on Tuesday during a national video conference on grain security.

A foundation has already been laid for the national digital network. In Anhui province, for example, one provincial-level and 16 prefecture-level platforms have been established, and 100 "smart" grain depots have been connected online, he said.

He asked that more digital and information technology be used to monitor the operation of grain depots, and keep watch on safety and market management so that the warning system can be improved and hazards can be responded to more efficiently.

Grain transfers between provinces have been kept at around 170 million metric tons in the past two years, while more than 100 million tons of grain have been imported annually in the past three years, he said, noting that 85 percent of soybeans in the domestic market are imported.

"All of these have raised the need to stabilize the grain market and ensure supplies, especially emergency supplies," he said.

While praising the development of China's grain industry, Zhang said the industry still faces challenges, including an incomplete legal system and a shortage of supervisory officials below the State level with the necessary knowledge.

After a grain safety project was launched in 2015, 75 million tons of new grain reserves were constructed, while depots for another 120 million tons have been renovated, he said.

According to China Grain Reserve Corp, known as Sinograin, grain depots at 336 of its subsidiaries can be monitored with the help of 56,000 surveillance cameras. Its rate of reserve grain loss has decreased from 1.33 percent to less than 1 percent.

While a grain law has yet to be enacted, some of the current regulations for grain circulation and reserve, which were enacted at least a decade ago, need to be updated in line with the current situation, Zhang said.

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