Over 35 billion kg of 'pre-consumption' grain going to waste in China each year

China's grain output this year rose to 669.49 million tonnes.
China's grain output this year rose to 669.49 million tonnes.PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China, the world's top grain consumer, loses more than 35 billion kg of grain each year in the storage, transportation and processing stages, state-owned Xinhua News said late on Wednesday (Dec 23), citing a government report.

The heavy pre-consumption loss is due to several factors, including outdated storage facilities, logistics equipment and processing techniques, according to the report, which was based on research by the National People's Congress (NPC).

The Xinhua report did not provide dates for the data.

Reducing grain loss and food waste has become an essential part of safeguarding food security, the report said, noting that "despite sufficient grain reserves, the country maintains a tight balance between supply and demand".

The NPC report recommended improving agricultural infrastructure and developing more efficient harvesters and smart grain depots to reduce grain loss at the pre-consumption stage, said Xinhua.

The research also found that up to 18 billion kg of food is wasted annually in the catering industry in cities, Xinhua said.

President Xi Jinping said in August that food wastage was"shameful" and "shocking".

He urged China to maintain a sense of crisis about food security, prompting many local governments to launch campaigns and restaurants to raise penalties on buffet wastage.

China will speed up the drafting of a food security law in response to increasing threats that emerged during the global coronavirus pandemic, a Chinese official said on Monday.

China's grain output this year rose to 669.49 million tonnes, while its total grain planting area increased to 116.8 million hectares, according to the statistics bureau.