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100 Billion Pounds of Grain Wasted in China Each Year

By Wang Liang
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 20, 2013 Last Updated: February 23, 2013
Related articles: China » Society
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A Chinese farmer grazes his livestock on his dried-up field after an extended drought in Fuyuan, southwest China's Yunnan province on Feb. 20, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

A Chinese farmer grazes his livestock on his dried-up field after an extended drought in Fuyuan, southwest China's Yunnan province on Feb. 20, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Over 100 billion pounds of grain is wasted in mainland China each year, roughly equivalent to the output of 33 million acres of land, according to a recent report by the state mouthpiece Xinhua

In the report, Ren Zhengxiao, Director of the State Administration of Grain, said a long process is involved for each grain to make it to the dining table, with waste at every stage. It is estimated that over 77 billion pounds of grain are lost simply during storage, transportation, and processing.

A shocking amount of food is also wasted at the dining table, Ren said: “There is a bad custom of indulging in ostentation and extravagance when treating guests to eat out, that has led to even more waste, estimated at 200 billion yuan (US$32 billion) per year.”

Ren said that China’s annual food waste is roughly equivalent to the yield of 33 million acres of arable land, exceeding the annual production of the country’s top grain-producing province of Heilongjiang. 

According to Ren, China imports over 110 billion pounds of grain and soybeans each year, while wasting over 110 billion pounds of domestically produced grains.

Ren said that this loss is already an important factor threatening China’s grain security, and will aggravate the conflict between grain supply and demand in China if not curbed.

The custom of using public funds for banquets among Chinese officials contributes to the food wastage, according to reports.

The Party’s anti-corruption body in Hainan recently announced that Wang Qun, Chief of the Finance Bureau in Qiongzhong County—one of the key state-supported poverty-stricken counties—spent 15,000 yuan (US$2,400) of public funds on three meals to treat friends and colleagues. 

Hong Kong Headline Daily reported in January that the Chinese Communist Party, government departments, and state-owned enterprises, had shifted their business banquets “underground,” moving from luxurious restaurants to state-run dining halls in Beijing. The price per table for some feasts is as high as 18,000 yuan (US$2,880).

In 2012, China’s official media People’s Daily reported that the public expenses on banquets in the mainland exceeded 300 billion yuan (US$48 billion) in 2005, and since then just kept rising.

America wastes approximately 33 million tons of food every year, according to Environmental Protection Agency data. 

Read the original Chinese article.

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