As the world’s largest nations, China has the most people to feed. In 2020, the population grew to 1.41 billion approximately one-sixth out of all the planet’s 7.9 billion population.
While the rate of population growth is at its lowest ever however, the president Xi Jingping recognizes the need to improve the country’s food security in the coming year.
Following COVID-19 and natural catastrophes affected the food system, China is seeking to be more self-sufficient and resilient the face of uncertainties.
China requires to improve food and corn production and boost output of oilseeds and soybeans in order in order to ensure “Chinese bowls They are mostly packed with Chinese food” the President Xi advised delegates of the China’s Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on March 6th.
China came in 34th place out of 113 countries on the 2021 Global Food Security Index that was published in September which evaluates food affordability availability, quality, safety, as well as natural resources and their resilience.
It’s among the countries which has seen the greatest growth over the past 10 years.
The effects of climate change on China’s food security
Climate change is among the most significant factors that are threatening Chinese food security.
In July of last year the heavy rain and flooding caused flooding and heavy rainfall to 2.4 millions of crops within Henan province. The region is called China’s “granary,” as it provides one third of China’s wheat crop and is responsible for 10% of the vegetables, corn, and pork supplies.
While the wheat harvest was finished, the severe weather has impacted vegetable and corn production, with yields expected to be down by minimum 30% in more than 50% of the fields affected according reports from the government of the province.
In the year 2020, floods werehed out fields next to Yangtze River, affecting the major rice-producing provinceslike Hubei and then flooding hit fields in two provinces of the northeast and typhoons also had an impact on the harvest of corn.
In addition the rising sea levels threaten agricultural land along China’s coastline.
How can seawater rice help?
In China’s plans to fight hunger are efforts to combat food waste, and also increasing the amount of land that is devoted to the cultivation of crops.
Other innovations are also having an impact, such as ‘ seawater rice varieties that are salt-tolerant, which were that were developed by researchers to flourish in salty, alkaline soil.
Tests have demonstrated that these varieties which are a crossbreeding of high yield rice as well as a variety of wild rice which is less prone to salt – can produce more yield than traditional varieties.
Although the idea has been in use since the 1950s, the idea of producing seawater rice was first introduced by late agricultural scientist Yuan Longping, known as “the father of hybrid rice’ due to his work is believed to have saved hundreds of thousands of people from hunger.
“A tiny grain of rice could save a nation or destabilize it. Security in food production must not be overlooked,” he told CGTN.
China’s arable land
At the end of the year, China’s total arable land was 1.28 million square kilometers which is a 6% reduction compared to the prior 10 years, as per an annual survey of the nation’s land use released in August. This is just 13 percent of China’s total land area and is expected to decrease further in 2030 since land is being transformed into industrial and urban areas.
However, an area that is the in the size of Egypt is too steep in saline to allow crops to expand, because salt blocks plants’ capacity to absorb the water. According to CGTN that a mere 10% of the land with seawater rice will increase China’s rice production to provide food for more than 200 million of its citizens.
Though it’s still to be fully commercialized, scientists at the Qingdao Saline-Alkali Tolerant rice Research and Development Centre were placed on the task of managing 4,000 sq kilometers of land in the past year to plant the rice.
In the year 2018 Yuan Longping took a team to Dubai to test cultivating ocean-water rice within the desert.
Food systems evolve
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a massive impact on the global food security and food security, with the UN estimates that 811 million are undernourished by 2020 approximately 1 in 10.
The transformation of food systems is essential to reaching this UN Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger and the transition to net-zero economics.
The World Economic Forum, the Food Action Alliance and partners are hosting a virtual gathering with Bold Actions to Food Flagships for Regional and Country Flagships to take action to effect transformation.
In the opening Plenary Leaders will debate how to boost ambitions and take leadership action to the COP27 and will explore strategies to realize the goals of 2030.
The world-wide production of rice grown in seawater could just be a way to ensure that nobody is hungry.