On 31 October 2021, China issued the Food Conservation Action Plan to ensure grain supplies and food security. The plan, released by the General Offices of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, China’s Cabinet, emphasizes saving food through the entire chain, including grain production, storage, transportation, processing and consumption. This action plan aims at implementing the requirements of the Fifth Plenary Session of the Nineteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party on the deployment of grain conservation actions, while promoting the implementation of the Anti-Food Waste Law of the People’s Republic of China.
The plan focuses on saving food from multiple stages of the supply chain and carves out important ways to ensure national food security. Reducing food loss and waste will save land, water, fertilizers and pesticides, and thus protects the environment and reduces carbon dioxide emissions, helping sustainable development. In addition, food conservation and loss reduction will help to inherit traditional virtues and practice core socialist values.
According to the plan, by 2025, China will work out detailed measures for grain conservation and loss reduction in each link of the grain industry’s chain and establish a set of standards to save grains and monitor the system. The plan especially focuses on innovative measures to strengthen the whole chain, food saving actions and S&T innovation. The first is to highlight the entire chain and strengthen comprehensive measures, aiming at all stages of grain production, storage, transportation, processing. The second is to highlight the actions of saving food and strengthen implementation. The third is to accelerate technological innovations and strengthening losses reduction by technology.
Against food loss and waste in production, storage, transport, processing and consumption, the plan proposes targeted measures. In the agricultural production chain, it is necessary to promote the uses of agricultural seeds economically, integrate and promote key technologies such as concentrated rice seedling breeding, single corn seeding, and wheat precision and semi-precision seeding. At the same time, the plan promotes fine grain harvesting and the reduction of field harvest losses. In the food storage chain, first, the conditions for post-production drying of grain should be improved, which can be included in the subsidy for new agricultural machinery products. Secondly, farmers should be supported and guided in scientific grain storage. Thirdly, promote the conservation and loss reduction of storage facilities, and encourage the development of promotion actions of green storage and standardization pilots of green grain storage. In food transport, firstly, the transportation infrastructure and equipment should be improved, and multimodal transports of food containers by road, railway and water should be developed. Secondly, improve the logistics service network of rural grain and improve the rural transport network. Thirdly, carry out logistics standardization demonstrations, develop standardized, and information-based bulk grain transport service systems, and carry out connection technology demonstrations of multimodal transport and efficient logistics. In grain processing, first, the conversion rate of grain and oil processing should be increased, such as formulating and revising standards for rations and edible oil processing, and the level of digital management in the grain processing industry should be improved. Second, the replacement of feed grain reduction should be strengthened. Third, the comprehensive utilization of food resources and effective use of the by-products of grain and oil processing to produce edible products, functional substances and industrial products should be strenghtened. In food and beverage consumption, different subjects such as the catering industry, canteens in work units, official activities, schools, household and individuals, should curb food waste. President Xi Jinping has stressed resolutely putting an end to wasting food and called for promoting thrift. For example, the ‘Clear Your Plate’ campaign is effectively playing a guiding and exemplary role in China.
The plan also responds to international cooperation on food conservation and loss reduction. First, it states that China wants to actively participate in international conferences such as the United Nations Food System Summit and the Global Action to Reduce Food Waste and share the experiences of food loss reduction with the international community. Second, it promotes bilateral and multilateral channels for joint research, technology demonstrations and personnel training on food conservation and loss reduction. Third, the institutionalization of the International Conference on Food Loss Reduction should be promoted.
As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world and the impact of climate change intensifies, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure food security. Therefore, the action plan must play an important strategic role in reducing food waste and loss.
- Action plan on saving food. In: China Daily http://language.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202111/04/WS6183a114a310cdd39bc735e5.html (Accessed: 08.11.2021)
- Action plan outlines measures to reduce waste. In: China Daily https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202111/03/WS6181e5b6a310cdd39bc72f99.html (Accessed: 08.11.2021)
- Reducing grain loss and waste crucial to ensure food security. In: China Daily http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202111/03/WS6181c807a310cdd39bc72e7a.html (Accessed: 10.11.2021)