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Food security concerns despite bumper harvest | Updated: 2013-10-16 14:13

China recorded a bumper harvest this year. Yet agricultural problems remain and are clouding the world's most populous country, prompting the government to take measures to beef up food security.

China's grain output this summer, mostly wheat, hit a record high of 132 million tonnes, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.

The production of maize, harvested in autumn, is expected to hit a record high of 215 million tonnes, according to the State Administration of Grain (SAG).

The country's grain output rose 3.2 percent year on year to hit 589.57 million tonnes in 2012, marking the ninth consecutive year of growth, according to NBS data.H Despite the record harvests, China's agriculture faces chronic problems.

The amount of arable land is shrinking amid the country's urbanization drive. There is water and land pollution due to excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers. Also, there is a large amount of waste in the way grain is stored, experts argue.

This year's World Food Day, which falls on Wednesday, will be themed "sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition".

Echoing the UN Food and Agriculture Organization focus, the Chinese government has vowed to ensure national food security and effective supply of farm produce.

At a central economic work conference in December, issues involving agriculture, farmers and rural areas were emphasized as a top priority for the Communist Party of China. Issues should never be neglected in spite of bumper grain harvests for several consecutive years, according to a statement issued after the conference.

Agricultural experts point out that to fulfill sustainable food security systems, not only sufficient grain production is needed but also sound protection of resources like land and water.

For Wang Cigen and many of his peers in the village of Hexin in Wuhu City, east China's Anhui Province, environmental protection is at the forefront of their work.

Rather than discard pesticide packages casually as he used to do, Wang now puts them in a green dustbin near his farmland.


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