CHINA’S FOOD SECURITY: A LOOK AT THE DETERMINING FACTORS
Abstract: This study contributes to the literature addressing food security in China. This study defines food security to rest on two complementary dimensions: food availability and food accessibility. Food availability depends on domestic production, imports and food reserves elements. A look at the availability elements reveals that domestic production is critically important to China. China faces serious production hurdles and due to its size, neglects in its domestic production can result in severe repercussions to its food security status. Therefore, this study explores with time regressions the effect of the input factors affecting China’s domestic production. The regressions indicate that science and technology investments have been the engines of China’s grain production. Regarding the food accessibility dimension, this study deems it to depend on poverty, food prices and populations elements. A review of the accessibility elements reveals that in China’s case poverty is the critical element to focus on. In China salaries are very low and the buffer separating the food secure and food insecure is thin. Thereby, this study explores empirically with time series regressions the relationship between the poverty and four independent variables including growth and food prices. The regressions indicate that higher food prices have negative effect on poverty, and that economic growth is crucial to poverty reduction. When incorporating the domestic production and poverty regressions’ results with the complete food security framework, it is reasonable to suggest that looking forward investments in science & technology can play a crucial role in safeguarding China’s food security by promoting domestic demand. Further, promoting growth, while critical to poverty reduction, will be more effective in promoting food security if complemented with measures addressing transitory poverty and income inequality.
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