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China's current market situation and an outlook until 2030: the China Agricultural Outlook Report was released
by Lea Siebert
Junior Expert in Agricultural Policy & Sciences (DCZ)
26 April 2021
Last week the China Agricultural Outlook Report (2021-2030) was officially released at the corresponding conference, hosted by the Agricultural Information Institute (AII) of CAAS in Beijing. DCZ experts, Dr. Eva Sternfeld, Dr. Aihemaitijiang Rouzi and Lea Siebert attended the conference on 20 and 21 April.
The report, published by the Market Early Warning Expert Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), provides a review of the current market situation for the main agricultural products as well as an annually update of projections for the next ten years. This year’s report reflects both the new political priorities set by the 14th Five-Year-Plan as well as the global impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Looking back to 2020, despite the pandemic China continued its series of high grain outputs over 650 million tons in the sixth year, achieving a harvest of 669.5 million tons. With regard to meat and feedstuff supply, the population of sows and pig has recovered after the steep drop due to ASF and reach now a population of over 90% of the 2017 level. A record high soybean output of 19.61 million tons was harvested from an enlarged planting area of in total 9.88 million ha. Industrialisation of agriculture is continuing with 39 additional modern agricultural parks and a comprehensive mechanization rate in agricultural practices of 71%. Despite high yields from Chinese production, also agricultural imports have increased significantly by 28% for grain and 60.4% for meat compared to the previous year to cover the growing consumption of agricultural products in China.
For the next ten years it is expected that not only China’s economy shifts from high-speed to high-quality growth, but also the objectives in food provision shift from providing enough food per capita to providing high-quality food. It is expected that the consumption of animal products will increase rapidly. Due to the limited land resources, China aims to import “land-intensive” products, such as feedstuffs. To sustain a pig population of pre-ASF levels with an annual output of 49.27 million tons, soybean and corn supply has to be further increased, whereas the import of pork and poultry meat will decrease. Policies for a stable domestic food supply aim for a sown area of rice, wheat and corn of 96.53 million ha and minimum soybean planting area of 9.33 million ha. As defined in the 14th Five-Year Plan, a “dual circulation”, also aiming for an increasing domestic consumption of agricultural products, will be accelerated by increases in population and industrial consumption.
The different subtopics from the report were also presented at the conference. One of the talks discussed the current situation on China’s efforts to curb carbon emission from agriculture – especially methane – to meet China’s net zero carbon emission target by 2060. Smart agriculture was raised as a solution to food security. In particular, the application of blockchain in agriculture could help various stakeholders tracing products at different stages of the supply chain to increase production, quality, storage, distribution and credibility of agri-food products. Chinese tech companies like Huawei, Alibaba and JD.com join forces with famers and agriculture companies to establish smart platforms and blockchain applications for specific agriculture products from specific regions.