June 21, 2011


China boosts grains, edible oil storage capacity



China has expanded its grains and edible oils storage capacity to allow the government to control food price rises and cover deficits in years of poor harvests, local news reported on Tuesday (Jun 21).


State grain storage capacity had reached 390 million tonnes by the end of 2010, representing about 70% of annual local consumption, stated Zeng Liying, deputy head of the State Administration of Grain.


The government had also built tanks to store up to 14.08 million tonnes of edible oils, about half of annual consumption, according to administration figures.


The central government has targeted grain self-sufficiency of 95%, but the world's largest grain consumer and second-largest corn consumer has since last year became a net corn importer after robust consumption growth outpaced production.


The new edible oil capacity, if filled, would enable the government to control cooking oil prices in the face of rising food inflation as has done in recent months. China, the world's second-largest vegetable oil consumer, is also the world's largest soy importer.


The government does not publish actual grain storage figures, but analysts said current stocks were mostly comprised of wheat and rice, while corn stocks had fallen considerably over the past two years after the government released a large volume to the market but failed to replenish stocks.


The People's Daily said a national inspection of state grains reserves in 2010 showed that 97.3% of grain stores were fit for human consumption. But storage facilities built by farmers, which store about half of their output, were substandard and the government would help eight million farmers upgrade their storage facilities over the next five years, it said.

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