China is expected to see a bumper summer grain harvest this year, amid government efforts to keep grain production stable.
The production of summer grain and edible oil will remain at a relatively high level, said Qin Yuyun, an official with the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, at a press conference.
State purchasing of grain will generally remain stable with a slight increase, while the buying volume of wheat is expected at around 70 million tonnes and for early rice to reach 10 million tonnes, Qin said.
The country will continue to implement the floor price policy for wheat and rice, and the state purchase price is expected to remain stable, Qin said. China has introduced various measures to ensure stable grain output amid the efforts to control COVID-19, such as increasing the planting area of early rice and improving the quality of spring plowing. The country is capable of achieving a bumper grain harvest for the entire year, Wei Baigang, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said earlier in April.
CHINA URGES FOOD COMPANIES TO BOOST SUPPLIES
China has asked trading firms and food processors to boost inventories of grains and oilseeds as a possible second wave of coronavirus cases and worsening infection rates elsewhere raise concerns about global supply lines. Both state-run and private grain traders as well as food producers were urged to procure higher volumes of soybeans, soyoil and corn during calls with China’s Ministry of Commerce, three trade sources told Reuters.
“There is a possibility of a breakdown in supply pipelines due to the coronavirus infections. For example, a port of origin or destination might shut down,” said a senior trader at one of China’s leading food processors. “They have advised us to increase stocks, keep supplies higher than we usually have. Things are not looking good in Brazil,” he added, referring to China’s main supplier of soybeans and a key meat exporter where the number of coronavirus cases has surpassed those in Spain and Italy.
A second source in China who was briefed by a person who attended one of the meetings said China’s Ministry of Commerce met with some state companies to discuss how to guarantee supplies during the pandemic. “One of the main concerns is how the epidemic in South America might impact supplies (of beans) to China,” the source said. Brazilian shipments of soybeans were delayed in March and April due to a combination of heavy rains and reduced manpower as coronavirus containment measures took effect, leading to a plunge in Chinese soy inventories to record lows. Arrivals from Brazil have since rebounded, but authorities remain wary of fresh disruptions.
China’s state-owned agriculture conglomerate COFCO and grain stockpiler Sinograin have been stepping up purchases of U.S. soybeans and corn in recent weeks. Beijing has also increased its allocations of crop import quotas to major grain buyers, paving the way for further potential purchases.