Paradigm Shift in China’s Food Security Strategy



As food security is of paramount importance to the Chinese policymakers, the grain self-sufficiency policy has been the cornerstone of China’s food security. The country’s sensitivity associated with food self-sufficiency is both a domestic construct, which is rooted in its unique cultural, political and economic structures, and shaped by its leaders’ interpretations of the global food market and the external political environment. Correspondingly, significant shifts in the Chinese diet and in the domestic political economy of the agricultural sector, favorable perception of the international food system, and China’s rising position in the world—all have promoted the paradigm shift in China’s food security strategy in late 2013.


Food Security Strategy International Food Market Chinese Policymakers Global Agricultural Policy famineFamine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Ali, T., Huang, J., Wang, J., & Xie, W. (2017). Global footprints of water and land resources through China’s food trade. Global Food Security, 12, 139–145. Scholar
  2. Bailey, R., & Wellesley, L. (2017). Chokepoints and vulnerabilities in global food trade (Chatham house report). London: Chatham House. Retrieved from
  3. Bloomberg. (2017, December 10). World’s largest water diversion plan won’t quench China’s thirst. Retrieved December 11, 2017, from
  4. Bloomberg News. (2017, May 21). China’s big derivatives push aims at global pricing power. Retrieved October 24, 2017, from
  5. Brown, L. R. (1995). Who will feed China?: Wake-up call for a small planet. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  6. Campbell, C. (2016, August 17). China may not have enough arable land to feed its people. But big changes are coming. Retrieved from
  7. CCTV. (2017, March 8). 习近平:中国的饭碗要端在自己手里. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from
  8. Chakrabortty, A. (2008, July 3). Secret report: Biofuel caused food crisis. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from
  9. Chen, X. (2009). Review of China’s agricultural and rural development: Policy changes and current issues. China Agricultural Economic Review, 1(2), 121–135. Scholar
  10. Chen, X. (2013). In C. D. R. Foundation (Ed.), Chinese economists on economic reform – Collected works of Chen Xiwen (1st ed.). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Chen, J. (2017, May 2). 种植业“一带一路”拓展具比较优势 合作市场空间逾5500亿元. Retrieved November 22, 2017, from
  12. Chen, X., & Han, J. (2016). 中国农业供给侧改革研究 (1st ed.). Beijing: Tsinghua University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Chen, Y., Li, X., Wang, L., & Wang, S. (2017). Is China different from other investors in global land acquisition? Some observations from existing deals in China’s going global strategy. Land Use Policy, 60, 362–372. Scholar
  14. Cheng, G. (2013). 重塑边界·中国粮食安全新战略. Beijing: China Economic Press.Google Scholar
  15. Cheng, G., & Zhang, H. (2014). China’s global agricultural strategy: An open system safeguard the country’s food security. Singapore: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.Google Scholar
  16. China Daily. (2013, December 16). China vows to safeguard national food security|. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from
  17. Christiansen, F. (2009). Food security, urbanization and social stability in China. Journal of Agrarian Change, 9(4), 548–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Clapp, J. (2014). Financialization, distance and global food politics. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 41(5), 797–814. Scholar
  19. Clapp, J. (2017). Food self-sufficiency: Making sense of it, and when it makes sense. Food Policy, 66(Supplement C), 88–96. Scholar
  20. CNGrain. (2012, August 20). 粮食安全:中美能否爆发粮食战争? Retrieved November 15, 2017, from
  21. Davis, M. (2008). Natural disasters. New York: Infobase Publishing.Google Scholar
  22. Dithmer, J., & Abdulai, A. (2017). Does trade openness contribute to food security? A dynamic panel analysis. Food Policy, 69, 218–230. Scholar
  23. Dorsey, J. M. (2017, October 21). Gulf crisis broadens definitions of food security. Retrieved October 22, 2017, from
  24. Du, R. (2006). The course of China’s rural reform (p. 16). Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute. Retrieved from
  25. Duggan, N., & Naarajaervi, T. (2015). China in global food security governance. Journal of Contemporary China, 24(95), 943–960. Scholar
  26. Durisin, M., & Wilson, J. (2014, April 16). U.S. grain losses seen up to $6.3 billion on China Ban – Bloomberg. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from
  27. Fan, S. (2014, January 27). Toward food secure China [1]- Retrieved November 13, 2017, from
  28. Fei, X. (1939). Peasant life in China: A field study of country life in the Yangtze Valley. London: George Routledge and Sons. Retrieved from
  29. Forum on Health, Environment and Development. (2014). Food safety in China: A mapping of problems, governance and research. Brooklyn: Social Science Research Council. Retrieved from
  30. Freeman, D., Holslag, J., & Weil, S. (2008). China’s foreign farming policy: Can land provide security. BICCS Asia Paper, 3(9), 3–27.Google Scholar
  31. Global Times. (2010, June 2). 美国已对中国发起没有硝烟的粮食战争. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from
  32. Han J. (2014). 中国粮食安全与农业走出去战略研究. Beijing: China Development Press.Google Scholar
  33. Hayward, J. (2017). Beyond the ownership question: Who will till the land? The new debate on China’s agricultural production. Critical Asian Studies, 49(4), 523–545. Scholar
  34. Headey, D. (2011). Rethinking the global food crisis: The role of trade shocks. Food Policy, 36(2), 136–146. Scholar
  35. Hisashi, K. (2017, November 28). Asia insight: China’s Belt and Road sparks battle of the breadbaskets. Retrieved November 29, 2017, from
  36. IFPRI. (2017). 城市化发展进入拐点,粮食政策迎来新挑战——2017全球粮食政策报告发布会在京举行. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from
  37. Jiang, Y. (2014, April 24). 财政三年投9万亿“三农”资金管理漏洞待堵. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from
  38. Kung, J. K., & Lin, J. Y. (2003). The causes of China’s great leap famine, 1959–1961. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 52(1), 51–73. Scholar
  39. Lawrence, F. (2011, June 2). The global food crisis: ABCD of food – How the multinationals dominate trade. The Guardian. Retrieved from
  40. Li, L. M. (2007). Fighting famine in North China: State, market, and environmental decline, 1690s–1990s. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Li, H. (2015, March 21). 宁高宁:自由贸易是粮食安全的唯一解决方法. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from
  42. Li, J. (2017a). 2017 China grain market development report. Beijing: China Financial & Economic Publishing House.Google Scholar
  43. Li, W. (2017b, November 20). 李伟:以更高标准保障中国粮食与食品安全. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from
  44. Liu, H. (2016). 关于中国农业“走出去”的战略思考. China Development Observation, 4, 28–30.Google Scholar
  45. Liu, B. J., Wang, Y., Wang, J., Wu, X., & Zhang, S. (2015). Is China the price taker in soybean futures? China Agricultural Economic Review, 7(3), 389–404. Scholar
  46. Ma, X. (2017). 中国粮食“收不起、储不起、补不起”困境何解. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from
  47. Mao, Z. (1949). The bankruptcy of the idealist conception of history. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from
  48. Mao, Y., Nong, Z., & Yang, X. (2012). Food security and farm land protection in China. Singapore: World Scientific.Google Scholar
  49. Ministry of Agriculture Agricultural Trade Promotion Center. (2016). 粮食安全与“非必需进口”控制问题研究. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from
  50. Ministry of Agriculture, P.R. China. (2017a). Report on China’s agricultural foreign investment cooperation. Beijing: China Agriculture Press.Google Scholar
  51. Ministry of Agriculture, P.R. China. (2017b, March 1). Agriculture in China IV. Retrieved November 7, 2017, from
  52. Ministry of Agriculture, P.R. China. (2017c, September 25). 开放合作引领农业走向世界——党的十八大以来农业国际合作成就综述. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from
  53. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, P.R. China. (2015, May 2). Xi Jinping delivers welcome address on opening of China pavilion in Milan world expo. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, P.R. China. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from
  54. Morton, K. (2012). Learning by doing: China’s role in the global governance of food security (RCCPB’s Initiative on China and Global Governance). Bloomington: Indiana University.Google Scholar
  55. National Bureau of Statistics, P.R. China. (1996). 中国统计年鉴1996. Beijing: China Statistics Press. Retrieved from
  56. National Bureau of Statistics, P.R. China. (2017a). 2017 China statistical abstract. Beijing: China Statistics Press.Google Scholar
  57. National Bureau of Statistics, P.R. China. (2017b, December 8). 国家统计局关于2017年粮食产量的公告. Retrieved December 14, 2017, from
  58. National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). (2016). 全国农产品成本收益资料汇编(2016) (1st ed.). Beijing: China Statistics Press.Google Scholar
  59. Ni, T. (2017, October 8). Rural Chinese income on the rise, but big barriers remain in agricultural landscape. Shanghai Daily. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from
  60. Nikkei Asian Review. (2017, March 17). Interview: New hope group has $1bn for Belt and Road countries. Retrieved November 16, 2017, from
  61. OECD. (1999). Agriculture in China and OECD countries. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved from
  62. Paarlberg, R. L. (1978). Food, oil, and coercive resource power. International Security, 3(2), 3–19. Scholar
  63. Pardey, P. G., Alston, J. M., Chan-Kang, C., Hurley, T. M., Andrade, R. S., Dehmer, S. P., et al. (2018). The shifting structure of agricultural R&D: Worldwide investment patterns and payoffs. In From agriscience to agribusiness (pp. 13–39). Cham: Springer. Scholar
  64. (2014, January 24). 米袋子菜篮子变迁:温家宝曾提省长市长负责制. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from
  65. People’s Daily. (2016, November 3). 袁隆平种出了“海水稻.” Retrieved December 14, 2017, from
  66. Ren, Z. (2015). 解决好吃饭问题始终是治国理政的头等大事. Qiushi Journal, 19, 7–9.Google Scholar
  67. Schneider, M. (2017). Dragon head enterprises and the state of agribusiness in China. Journal of Agrarian Change, 17(1), 3–21. Scholar
  68. Sina. (2014, July 28). 牟广丰:进口粮食以节约煤产地水资源. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from
  69. Slane, D. M. (2013). The impact of Shuanghui international group’s acquisition of Smithfield foods (Testimony). Washington, DC: The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Retrieved from
  70. State Council Information Office, PR China. (2017, February 7). SCIO briefing on the “No. 1 central document” in 2017. Retrieved November 11, 2017, from
  71. State Council, P.R. China. (2013, December 18). 解读:我国13亿人的口粮绝对安全如何保障. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from
  72. State Council, P.R. China. (2015, December 10). 着力培育中国自己的国际“大粮商.” Retrieved November 17, 2017, from
  73. Steur, H., Gellynck, X., Storozhenko, S., Liqun, G., Lambert, W., Van Der Straeten, D., & Viaene, J. (2010). Health impact in China of folate-biofortified rice. Nature Biotechnology, 28, 554–556. Scholar
  74. Tang, F. (2008). 新粮食战争 (1st ed.). Beijing: China Commerce Publishing House.Google Scholar
  75. The Economist. (2013, October 26). Feeding 1.36 billion people: Daily bread. Retrieved from
  76. USDA. (2017). China’s 2017 agricultural policy goals: The 2017 no. 1 document of the CCCPC and the State Council (GAIN Report). Washington, DC: USDA. Retrieved from
  77. Wang, J. (2017a, October 17). Success in maintaining food security in China contributes to global economic stability. Retrieved November 11, 2017, from
  78. Wang, Y. (2017b). Advancing agricultural supply-side structural reform and fostering a new impetus for agricultural and rural development. Qiushi Journal, 9(3). Retrieved from
  79. Wang, J., Li, Y., Huang, J., Yan, T., & Sun, T. (2017). Growing water scarcity, food security and government responses in China. Global Food Security, 14(Supplement C), 9–17. Scholar
  80. Wilson, K. (2016, March 22). Ministry of agriculture of the people’s Republic of China. Retrieved November 7, 2017, from
  81. Wolf, M. (2008, April 29). Food crisis is a chance to reform global agriculture. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from
  82. Wong, J., & Bo, Z. (2010). China’s reform in global perspective. Hackensack: World Scientific Publishing Company.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Wong, J., & Huang, Y. (2012). China’s food security and its global implications. China-an International Journal, 10(1), 113–124.Google Scholar
  84. Wu, F., & Zhang, H. (2016). China’s global quest for resources: Energy, food and water. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  85. Xinhuanet. (2007, November 13). Chinese premier vows to stabilize prices. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from
  86. Xinhuanet. (2013, November 28). 习近平:手中有粮,心中不慌. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from
  87. Xu, W. (2015, May 13). Agricultural subsidies “should be reconsidered.” Retrieved November 13, 2017, from
  88. Yan, H., Chen, Y., & Bun, K. H. (2016). China’s soybean crisis: The logic of modernization and its discontents. Journal of Peasant Studies, 43(2), 373–395. Scholar
  89. Yao, S. (2007). Chinese agricultural reform, the WTO and FTA negotiations (Working paper). Bangkok: United Nations. Retrieved from
  90. Ye, X. (2017). 一带一路对农业的影响. Marketing Sector (Agriculture and Market), 0(14), 54–55.Google Scholar
  91. Zhan, S., & Huang, L. (2017). Internal spatial fix: China’s geographical solution to food supply and its limits. Geoforum, 85(Supplement C), 140–152. Scholar
  92. Zhang, H. (2012). China’s food security: Threats from conflicts of interest (RSIS Commentaries). Singapore: RSIS.Google Scholar
  93. Zhang, H. (2014). Global food security: Debunking the “China threat” narrative (RSIS Commentaries). Singapore: RSIS.Google Scholar
  94. Zhang, L. (2016, May 16). 美国农业部数据的阴谋与阳谋 危险的“洋报告.” Retrieved January 12, 2018, from
  95. Zhang, N., & Ran, X. (2017, September 20). COFCO goes global to grow grain security. Retrieved October 24, 2017, from
  96. Zhang, Z., Tian, H., Cazelles, B., Kausrud, K. L., Bräuning, A., Guo, F., & Stenseth, N. C. (2010). Periodic climate cooling enhanced natural disasters and wars in China during AD 10–1900. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences. Scholar
  97. Zhao, S. (2017). 努力打造中国人自己的国际大粮商. Qiushi Journal, (3). Retrieved from
  98. Zhong, F., & Zhu, J. (2017). Food security in China from a global perspective. Choices, 32(2), 1–5.Google Scholar
  99. Zhou, Z. (2010). Achieving food security in China: Past three decades and beyond. China Agricultural Economic Review, 2(3), 251–275. Scholar
  100. Zhu, R. (2001). Zhu Rongji’s speech at the 6th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention. Retrieved September 30, 2015, from
  101. Ziegler, J., Golay, C., Mahon, C., & Way, S.-A. (2011). The right to food in an era of globalization. In The fight for the right to food (pp. 68–100). London: Palgrave Macmillan. Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)Nanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations