May 21, 2024


China's agriculture minister under investigation for corruption




China's agriculture minister, Tang Renjian, is under investigation by the country's graft watchdog for corruption, and has been removed from the leadership roster on the agriculture ministry's website.


This development could delay China's food security plans, according to analysts.


Tang was placed under investigation for "serious violations of discipline and law" by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and National Supervisory Commission, according to an official statement on May18.


"Once an investigation like this is announced, it is essentially a foregone conclusion that the official will be removed from their role," said Even Pay, an agriculture analyst at Trivium China.


Under Tang, the Chinese agriculture ministry had stepped up its food security policies and will on June 1 implement a new law aimed at ensuring the self-sufficiency of grains.


Analysts said Tang's removal is unlikely to cause major changes to China's food security goals, but may delay its implementation.


"There is a risk that turmoil within the ministry as a result of Tang's investigation could slow down implementation timelines or result in further difficulty for officials that worked closely with Tang, depending on the focus of that investigation," Pay said. "Still, because food security is so important to (Chinese President) Xi Jinping, it is unlikely that major disruptions or delays will be tolerated."


While the policy direction for food security is jointly coordinated by several ministries and departments, the agriculture ministry is the main body overseeing the rural economy.


"(Tang's) downfall follows serious economic decline in rural areas in recent years," said Ma Wenfeng, senior analyst at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultancy.

- Reuters

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