Chinese consumers appreciate food diversity
Chinese consumers appreciate food diversity.
Photo: © G. Palnstorfer/
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Urbanisation is making rapid progress in China. Already, there are 170 cities with more than a million inhabitants. Many urban consumers buy their food straight from the agricultural wholesale markets. Increasingly, however, they are opting for direct links with the farmers.

With its more than 1.3 billion inhabitants, China is one of the most important markets for agricultural products. The 20 per cent of the global population living there have to manage with just ten per cent of global farmland and six per cent of the Earth’s water reserves. Nevertheless, the country has more or less maintained its own food supplies. Grain for human consumption is grown almost exclusively in China.

With 162 million hectares of arable land, 17 per cent of the country’s total area is used for agriculture, and grain is grown in two thirds of it. At 50 per cent, the degree of mechanisation equals that of agriculture in industrialised countries. Therefore, the biggest requirement for modernisation that China had defined in the agricultural sector was in the area of engineering and management, said Niu Dun, Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), at the China Forum held by the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in Berlin/Germany in mid-January.

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