Although the population in China continues to grow and consumption levels are increasing, China will probably continue to be able to produce enough food for its own people in the future. This will mainly be due to technological developments.
The Dutch and Chinese researchers used models to predict the consequences of current policies, including the market liberalisation as a result of China’s entry to the World Trade Organization. Crops that take up a lot of land, such as wheat and cotton, will be exported less, while pork, chicken and fish will become important export products for China. The country is likely to remain self sufficient in staple foods. As biotechnology in rice production becomes more widespread, China is likely to start earning more from this crop. The study emphasises the importance of technology and agricultural research in general if agricultural production is to be increased. In the past few decades it is new technologies that have been responsible for almost half of the increase in rice yields.
The influence of China on the world market for agricultural produce is likely to remain limited because it will have to concentrate on production for its own people. There are also likely to be increased opportunities for Dutch agribusiness as China grows, especially expertise on machines and processing.