FAO and OECE Predict Rising Demand for Food from China


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.

    A new report says China's demand for food imports will jump in the next few years. The report comes from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) .

    Angel Gurria is Secretary-General of the OECD.  He says China's need for food is growing at a time when world food production is decreasing.

    "In the last 10 years agriculture grew by 2.1 percent. Now we're saying the next 10 years its going to grow 1.5 percent.  So about a third less. That's pretty big.  A third less accumulated over time, that's a big difference."

    Meat imports to China are expected to grow at yearly rate of three percent to 1.7 million tons by the year 2022. Beef is set to become the fastest growing food import with a expected growth rate of seven percent a year. China's imports of coarse grains -- crops used to feed animals, are expected to double by 2022, soybean imports are expected to grow 40 percent. And imports of oilseeds, also used in animal feed, are predicted to rise 41 percent over the next ten years. 

    Angel Gurria says China's economic growth is fueling its hunger for imports, he says the country already has had a large effect on world food markets.

    "You cannot understand the world of agriculture and the production of agriculture if you don't have China front and center because of their importance in consumption, because of their importance in production, because of their importance in the shifts and  the changes in the market."

    Jose Graziano Da Silva is the head of the Food and Agriculture Organization, he says reducing the large amount of food that is now wasted would help meet the growing demand for food.

    "We are still losing 30 percent to half of what we are producing now. This is unbelievable, and this is a lack of investment in food storage, food transportation, better rural conditions."

    The rise in the Chinese demand for food is expected to cause grain and other commodity prices to rise. Businesses have begun taking steps because of China's influence on world food trade.

    Last month, The Chinese meat processing company Shuanghui  announced a $7 billion offer for the American pork company Smithfield Foods.

    China is already the world's biggest importer of milk and soybeans. It is expected to become the world's biggest consumer of pork within ten years. The FAO and OECD say that will cause international pork prices to rise five to eight percent.

    And that's the Economics Report, I'm Kelly Jean Kelly.