Monday, March 7, 2022

"China’s wheat harvest “worst in history”, says agriculture minister"

Via The Drinks Business, March 7:

Just as wheat prices in China soar to a record high as a result of the Ukraine crisis, the Chinese government has revealed domestic supply worries with regards to the grain.

China’s winter wheat crop could be the “worst in history”, the country’s agriculture minister has revealed, sparking concerns about global grain supplies among the drinks industry.

Speaking to reporters at China’s annual parliament meeting, Tang Renjian, who is Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said that rare heavy rainfall last year delayed the planting of around a third of the normal wheat acreage.

A survey of the crop taken before the start of winter found that wheat was down by more than 20 percentage points.

“Many farming experts and technicians told us that crop conditions this year could be the worst in history,” Tang said. “This year’s grain production indeed faces huge difficulties.”

It comes as wheat prices surge to a 14-year high, following the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which together account for approximately 29% of global wheat exports.

Tang remains confident that China can ensure a strong summer wheat harvest thanks to policy and technical support. According to the latest report from the country’s National Development and Reform Commission, China has committed to ensuring that its annual grain acreage stays above 117.33 million hectares in order to improve the country’s “food security”.

In order to get back on track, China has said it will stop any attempts to use cropland for any purpose other than agriculture and grain production.

What does this mean for the drinks trade?....