I was recently told that China imports some 60% of its rice which sounded very improbable to me. I found figures online which, after some calculations, suggested it was nearer 1% in 2017.
Does anyone know, or know where to find, a more definitive answer?
It could be a case of attaching figures to the wrong classification of agricultural products, or someone had otherwise muddled the stats.
It could be 60% of soybean imports.
It might be worth checking if it is 60 % of all grains, or it could be that 60% of all of China's rice imports are from Vietnam (60% of the 1%).
It would be worth checking again with the source, if you can remember who said it.
Sorry I cannot be of any real help. It is just that I used to here these kinds of muddled figures all the time.
"With about 125.84 million tons of rice yields, China's reliance on rice imports was about 3.2% in 2017. Considering the smuggled rice, the reliance on foreign rice actually exceeded 5%. It is expected that more foreign paddy and rice will enter China in the coming years."
One related recent development is, that despite ongoing border disputes, China recently started importing rice from India - first time in decades according to some reports, which also cite supply problems elsewhere as reason.
Many thanks. Just what I was looking for.
There is more behind these import figures. A few % import is not necessary an indication that there is insufficient rice to feed the population.
A small part of the imports are high quality specials like Basmati rice and long grain Thai rice. These are thus luxury imports.
Another part is just standard rice that is imported at very low prices but creates a credit line for the import of luxury products from China like rice for smart phones. The loss on the rice is then compensated by the profit on the sale of these smart phones.
Imported standard rice makes it as well possible to use more of China’s own rice in the lower quality segment as animal food or for the production of alcohol.
So the import of rice is more an indication of luxury then of need.
Yes, these articles that I saw on the topic didn't mention of shortages within China, but outside of it, in the countries where China normally would import from.