Food security is an important foundation for national security. To cope with major changes unseen in a century, we must first stabilize the basic food market. The Economic Daily News China Economic Trends Research Institute conducted a field follow-up survey of 1942 new agricultural business entities and found that such new entities representing the development direction of agricultural modernization often have more choices when facing the market. In recent years, due to considerations such as obtaining higher economic benefits, the area of newly grown grains has declined. Will this phenomenon affect my country's food security? How to mobilize the enthusiasm of various main bodies in food production? With these questions in mind, we organized expert seminars to jointly answer the question of "who will farm and how to farm" under the new situation.
Guests of this issue
Li Chenggui, Dean of Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences
Zheng Fengtian, Associate Dean, School of Agriculture and Rural Development, Renmin University of China
Professor Kong Xiangzhi, School of Agriculture and Rural Development, Renmin University of China
Chen Jie, Deputy Director, Rural Economic Research Center, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Cheng Yu, Deputy Director of the Rural Economic Research Department, Development Research Center of the State Council
Professor Han Yijun, School of Economics and Management, China Agricultural University
Sun Shifang, Member of the Editorial Board of Economic Daily and Dean of China Institute of Economic Trends
Food supply and demand will be in tight balance for a long time
Moderator: my country’s food security has always been paid attention to. This year’s Central No. 1 Document also specifically emphasized the need to ensure food security. Judging from the investigation and research of the experts, what is the current situation of my country's food security?
Kong Xiangzhi: my country's food supply and demand are in a tight balance. First of all, the issue of food security is closely related to my country's arable land resource endowment. my country has 1.546 billion mu of permanent basic farmland, and the total arable land area is 2.223 billion mu. The limitation of land resources is an important reason why the country attaches importance to food production. Secondly, the current situation of food production in various regions is not balanced. In 2019, there were 11 provinces where grain production exceeded demand, and 5 of the 13 provinces located in the main grain producing areas not only failed to transfer grain, but also imported from other provinces. Looking at the situation from 2010 to 2019, the overall grain production has increased, but by province, there are 9 provinces with a decline in grain production. Among the provinces located in the production-sale balance zone, there were 3 provinces with a decline in grain production, while the provinces located in the main sales zone had a decline in grain production. Finally, the international production and marketing environment has also exacerbated consumers' concerns about food security.
Li Chenggui: Although the supply and demand of food are currently in a tight balance, from an overall point of view, we should be optimistic about food security. First, the increase in food consumption is not as good as the increase in production. From the perspective of population data, although the total population of our country is very large, the population growth rate has changed. At the same time, because the income elasticity and price elasticity of agricultural products consumption are very low, even if the consumer's income increases substantially, the demand for food will not increase significantly, that is, the total amount of food consumption will be restricted. Second, technology has played an important role in promoting production. From the perspective of agricultural development history, the average grain yield per mu has only increased by about 30% from the Spring and Autumn Period to the Qing Dynasty over 2000 years, but the emergence of modern hybridization technology has greatly increased the per mu yield of grain crops.
Chen Jie: In the first quarter of this year, my country’s grain imports increased by more than 60% year-on-year, of which corn imports increased by more than 4 times, and wheat imports increased by more than 1 time, indicating that food supplies are in a tight state. This is consistent with the judgment we have always held: namely my country's food supply and demand will be in a tight balance for a long time.
First of all, from the perspective of demand, my country has entered a post-industrial period, and the national food consumption structure and nutritional structure are undergoing transformation and upgrading. In the food consumption structure, the per capita consumption of meat, eggs, milk, aquatic products, and fruits and vegetables by Chinese residents is increasing, while the per capita food consumption of residents is decreasing. However, in terms of feed supply and demand, my country's feed grains have insufficient support for the aquaculture industry. my country’s large imports of soybeans are mainly due to the rapid growth in demand from the breeding industry. In 2020, my country’s soybean imports have exceeded the 100 million tons mark, reaching 140 million tons. This is the inevitable result of my country's economic growth and the transformation of national consumption. Therefore, an adequate grain import policy that makes full use of both domestic and foreign resources and two markets has always been an important part of my country's food security policy. It is necessary to have a stable understanding of my country's food security issues, that is, the structural contradiction between my country's food supply and demand will exist for a long time.
Secondly, the impact of changes in food policy requires continuous attention. The fallow policy for several years, the adjustment of the corn planting structure and the destocking of corn in the "sickle bend" have caused a tight supply of corn in our country. The impact of these policies can be expected a few years ago. According to changes in the food supply and demand situation, since 2020, the Central Government’s No. 1 Document has continued to signal that it is necessary to attach importance to and ensure food production. In 2020, relevant departments began to investigate and rectify the issue of "non-agriculturalization of arable land". This year, they put forward the requirement of "Party and government equal responsibility" for food security, and the minimum purchase prices for wheat and rice have been increased. Judging from the current agricultural policies, our country attaches great importance to food security, and various localities have also strengthened safeguard measures for food security. These policies and measures will have a positive impact on ensuring national food security.
Again, whether it is to protect arable land or improve the level of technology in growing food, it ultimately depends on the enthusiasm of people. The most important thing here is the vast majority of small farmers. At the same time, food farmers are also food consumers. Even if they are engaged in "ration agriculture" or other types of agriculture, they should also be concerned about the availability of food. At present, the importance of large-scale grain growers in my country is continuously increasing in the issue of food security. It is necessary to continue to pay attention to their income from growing grain and protect the enthusiasm of grain farmers.
Finally, the self-sufficiency rate of rice and wheat has been maintained at a high level as the ration crops of our residents. Therefore, the ration safety of our residents is fully guaranteed.
hold the rice bowl firmly in his own hands
Moderator: In recent years, new types of agricultural business entities have received a lot of attention in improving agricultural production efficiency and promoting agricultural modernization, and have also received a lot of policy support. What role do these new entities play in ensuring my country's food security?
Kong Xiangzhi: The service function of the new subject is playing an increasing role in ensuring my country's food security. A follow-up investigation on the agricultural trusteeship pilot in Shanxi Province found that the current production process has gradually increased the trusteeship ratio and the land transfer ratio has gradually decreased. The social services provided by the new entities played an important role. First of all, the service function of the new entity meets the production needs of small farmers. At present, the average age of small farmers engaged in production is old and their physical conditions are limited. The social services provided by the new entities have greatly eased the difficulties of small farmers in the rural areas in food production. At the same time, medium-sized family farms are less likely to be equipped with large-scale equipment required in the production process due to funding constraints and utilization rates. Therefore, both small farmers and medium-sized family farms can improve production efficiency through social services provided by new agricultural business entities.
Zheng Fengtian: The new main body’s food production function plays an important role in ensuring my country’s food security. From May 2016 to January 2020, the Economic Daily conducted three follow-up surveys of 1942 new entities. The data showed that the average grain planting scale of grain-growing family farms reached 242 mu, which was much higher than that of small farmers. area. Combined with the number of family farms announced by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, it can be estimated that the grain planting potential of 600,000 family farms is 148 million mu, accounting for about 10% of the total sown area of the three major staple foods in 2018; the average planting of large professional grain farmers The scale reaches 198 mu, and the potential for grain planting can reach 8% of the country's total sown area. Combining the two types of new subjects, it can be seen that nearly one-fifth of the "rice bowl" of the Chinese is in the hands of the new subjects.
At present, the food production situation of the new entity is not optimistic. In terms of planting area, from 2015 to 2018, the average planting area of new grain crops showed a downward trend. In 2015, the average grain planting area of family farms was 292.62 mu, while in 2018, the average grain planting area of family farms was 141.95 mu, a decrease of 51%. In 2015, the average grain planting area of large professional households was 244.87 mu, while in 2018, the average grain planting area of large professional households was only 131.68 mu, a decrease of 46%. Specifically, the trend of non-graining of the new main body of the medium-sized business main body is more obvious. According to the scale of operation, it can be divided into less than 50 acres, 50 to 100 acres, 100 to 200 acres, 200 to 500 acres, and greater than 500 acres. Looking at the changes in the planting area, it is found that the largest decline is in the scale of 100 to 200 acres. The new subject of acres. The crops that have fallen more acreage are rice and wheat, and corn is relatively less severe. In addition, the average grain-growing area of small farmers has shown an upward trend in the past three years. The survey shows that in 2016, the average grain area of small farmers was 10.34 mu, and in 2018, the average grain area of small farmers was 14.85 mu, which is in sharp contrast with the situation of the new entity.
From the perspective of planting benefits, there is no significant difference in the income of food crops between the new entity and small farmers, but the income of the new entity from planting cash crops is much higher than that of small farmers. The average income per mu of planting food crops in the new main body was 527.36 yuan, while that of small farmers was 522.72 yuan. The average income per mu for the new main body planting cash crops is 621.70 yuan, while that of small farmers is 213.90 yuan. The state's subsidies for grain are not enough to make up the gap between the income of the new main grain crops and the cash crops. Prior to the "three supplements in one" reform (direct subsidies for grain farmers, subsidies for crops, and comprehensive subsidies for agricultural materials combined into agricultural support and protection subsidies), the national direct grain subsidy standard was 15 yuan for early rice, mid-season rice (one-season rice), and late rice. /Mu; corn and wheat 10 yuan/mu, the subsidy amount is far from enough to make up the income gap between the two types of crops. The survey found that even after the "three supplements in one" reform, the new entities received only 28.29 yuan per mu for grain planting subsidies, and the grain subsidies were still at a low level. The low concentration of subsidy funds is neither precise nor efficient, which is not conducive to the improvement of agricultural production conditions for large grain farmers. In addition, the grain subsidy policy formulated by the state is prone to "subsidy dislocation" during the implementation of the local government, that is, the grain subsidy issued by the state is received by the original land contractor, and the new entity that rents the land (the actual grain grower) cannot get it. To the due policy support and encouragement.
Food security is a systemic and deep-seated problem
Moderator: In the next step, to stimulate the enthusiasm of new agricultural business entities to grow food and ensure my country's food security, what aspects need to be started?
Kong Xiangzhi: First, increase land productivity. At present, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs divides my country's current arable land into 10 levels according to land quality. Among them, the high-quality first-class land, that is, the first, second, third-class land accounts for about 20%. The second type of land includes the fourth to seventh grades of land. If the second type of land is transformed into a first type of land, productivity can be greatly increased. Secondly, pay attention to technological progress. At present, the seeds of food crops in our country can be self-sufficient. What needs to be done is to integrate varieties and cultivate high-yielding and high-quality varieties. Take corn as an example. There are more than 7,000 corn varieties in my country, but the degree of integration is obviously insufficient, and there is still a big gap between production capacity and advanced international varieties. Science and technology are the engines for cultivating high-quality and high-yield varieties. Since the reform and opening up, my country's grain output has continued to grow, mainly relying on science and technology.
Cheng Yu: Combining planting and breeding, promoting circular production, and building a feed and grain supply industrial chain on site are the development direction of the future agricultural industry system. First of all, the feasible direction for guiding the new main body to grow grain is the combination of planting and feeding. On the one hand, the increase in the comprehensive income of planting and feeding can solve the problem of low income from planting and insufficient incentives, and on the other hand, it helps to realize the ecological cycle effect and ensure the safety of production and supply chain. . Many farms in Europe are a combination of planting and breeding. For example, European countries stipulate that the number of livestock raised in dairy farms such as dairy cows and live pigs must match the planting area operated by the farm. This combination of planting and breeding on the one hand promotes circular production and ensures the elimination of farming manure, on the other hand, it also guarantees a certain proportion of localized feed supply. During the new crown pneumonia epidemic, there was a break in the feed supply chain of the farm, which caused the feed to be exhausted and the chickens had to be landfilled. This problem arises precisely because most of the feed grains of the farms in our country mainly rely on outbound transportation and lack local supply. Therefore, the future combination of planting and breeding should be the direction to guide the development of the new subject.
Secondly, guide new entities to adapt to changes in market demand and adjust variety planting in a timely manner. The new entity is a highly market-oriented operating entity that best reflects the changes in the market structure. Comparing the planting area of different grain varieties of the new main body in recent years, the planting area of wheat and rice has declined faster, but the planting area of corn has not fallen fast. This is because with the upgrading of the food consumption structure, my country's rations have been surplus, but the demand for feed grains is still growing rapidly, and the gap between production and demand is increasing. Therefore, it is necessary to respect the adjustments made by the new entities in response to market changes, and support them to expand the corn planting area, which will help fill the hard gap in future corn.
Once again, we support the large-scale development of new grain growing entities. Growing grain is a land-intensive industry, and higher economic benefits will only be obtained after the business has developed to a certain scale.
Finally, the food security functions undertaken by different regions should be differentiated. Efforts will be made to ensure the grain growing area of new subjects in dominant grain producing areas such as Northeast China, and to relax the restrictive indicators of grain production in non-advantageous areas such as Yunnan and Guizhou.
Han Yijun: It is very important to build an income safety net for new grain-growing entities. Food security is a systemic and in-depth issue, and it is the first issue to be considered during the "14th Five-Year Plan" period. In order to ensure the enthusiasm of new subjects to grow grain, building an income safety net for them should be the current focus of work. In the future, the new entity will be the top priority to ensure my country's food security. Whether or not to grow food depends on whether an income safety net can be built. At the same time, the income safety net that meets the national conditions and development stage is not only a simple direct subsidy for the new main body to grow grain, but also the minimum purchase price policy for the two major rations, as well as technology promotion, farmland protection, structural adjustment, farmer training, Various support such as insurance. The policy goal is to ensure that the new main body of grain growing has a relatively stable income, at least to ensure that the profit is guaranteed. This is an important foundation for ensuring my country's food security under the new pattern. (Source of this article: Economic Daily-China Economic Net)