China’s Ag Policy is Shifting, Reports Strain

By Don Molino

During his daily report on the Voice of Louisiana Agriculture Radio Network, Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Mike Strain reported it appears China is changing some of its agriculture policies.

Strain, quoting a Reuters article out of Beijing, said “China is embarking on a major shift in its agriculture policy, abandoning its long held obsession with self-sufficiency in favor of better meeting consumer demand.”

A document published Sunday omitted any reference to basic self-sufficiency in food crops, apparently breaking with the tradition of the past six years by the Chinese government.

“This is the latest sign,” said Strain, again quoting Reuters, “the (Chinese) government is shifting gears after years of supporting production of major crops like corn, wheat and rice which has led to huge grain stockpiles without a market.”

No one thought China would maintain self-sufficiency the way they have. “They did it by price supports that have been extremely costly,” reported Strain. “(Chinese) officials maintain future prices will be more in line with the market.”

“China is our largest trading partner and this shift in the economic policy and ag policy will have a specific impact on the prices for our commodities,” said the commissioner.

“One in three acres of America’s production is exported. Here in Louisiana, $8.3 billion of our $13.8 billion worth of ag products are exported.  So world markets are absolutely critical and have a decisive part in determining the price we receive for our commodities,” Stain concluded.