November 25, 2008

China expects record grain harvest

China's grain yield this year is expected to break the 1998 record of 512 million tons, a senior agriculture official said Tuesday.

The official, who wasn't named, said this year's harvest will set a record even as the rest of the world is experiencing shortages, China Daily reported.

China has had four consecutive years of high grain output with last year's yield totaling 501.5 million tons.

Definitely this has been a great harvest year for China, the official said.

Jiang Zhongyi, a senior researcher at the Agricultural Economic Research Center, said, We all share in the optimism that this year will see a new record.

However, he said grain prices may go down due to the rising supply, adding the governments at various levels should strictly implement minimum pricing protection for farmers.

If market prices fall below the minimum purchasing price set by the government, the government should start to buy, he said.

Jiang also warned China, with a population of 1.3 billion, faces major challenges in safeguarding grain security as a result of rising living standards, decreasing arable land, water shortages and climate change.