Ending Hunger Requires Global Efforts
Chinese Ambassador to Canada, H. E. Cong Peiwu Published a Signed Article on The Hill Times
6 September 2022
When it comes to world records, many of my Canadian friends mention the total 14 Olympic gold medals won by Canadian men’s ice hockey team and women’s ice hockey team. Some refer to Usain Bolt’s 9.58 second sprint in 100 meters. Today, I would like to share with you a world record born in a rice field. Last October, Mr. Xie Huaan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, announced with excitement among villagers and reporters gathered in a rice field in China’s Hunan province that the average yield per mu was 936.1 kg based on the late rice harvested in a 30.5 mu (15 mu = 1 hectare) rice field. In July of the same year, the average yield per mu of early rice in the same land was 667.8 kg. The total of 1603.9 kg created a surprising new world record of per-unit yield of double-cropping rice.
Food security is an issue of common concern to mankind, including the people of China and Canada. In recent years, COVID-19, weather extremes, and regional conflicts have led to a reduction in grain production in some countries and sharp rises in international prices for grain, posing serious challenges to global food security. The latest report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) shows that the number of people affected by hunger worldwide reached 828 million in 2021, with an increase of 46 million people compared with that of 2020. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, believes that we face an unprecedented global hunger crisis in 2022 and 2023 could be even worse.
Improving food security is a common task facing mankind. Ending hunger requires the concerted efforts of all countries. Unlike Canada, which has a small population living in a vast territory, China has nearly 20 percent of the world population with only nine percent of the planet’s arable land. To ensure food security, the Chinese government carefully protects the farmland. Meanwhile, it strengthens the construction of farmland infrastructure and builds high-standard farmland that are resistant to drought and flood. For decades, Chinese scientists have continuously promoted scientific and technological innovation in the seed industry, improved agricultural mechanization and management, and greatly increased grain yield per unit area. Yuan Longping, the father of hybrid rice, led his scientific research team to successfully cultivate the first hybrid rice strain that yielded 20 percent more rice than conventional varieties in 1973. The 2nd and 3rd generations were cultivated afterwards. With the long-term and unremitting efforts of all sectors of society, China’s grain output in 2021 reached 680 million tons, and the per capita share of grain output reached 484kg, higher than the world average.
While actively solving its own food issue, the Chinese government, by providing emergency food aid, constructing agricultural technology demonstration centers, and carrying out agricultural technology training, has not only provided food assistance but also taught people how to produce food, in an effort to help developing countries better safeguard food security, thus making contributions to the realization of global zero hunger. Since the FAO launched South-South cooperation in 1996, China has sent more than 1,100 agricultural experts to over 40 countries and regions in Africa, Asia, South Pacific, who have brought and introduced more than 1,000 agricultural technologies to the countries and regions, increasing crop yields by 30 to 60 percent on average.
In 2021, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative at the 76th General Assembly of the United Nations which took food security as one of the eight fields of cooperation. State Councilor Wang Yi put forward eight initiatives on international food security cooperation at the recent G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, including supporting the central role of the United Nations in coordination; not imposing export restriction on humanitarian food purchases by the WFP; facilitating the entry of Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian agricultural products and inputs into the international market; major food-producing and net food-exporting countries should release their own export potential, reduce trade and technical barriers, and control making fuel out of crops, so as to ease the tight food supply in the market; emergency measures taken by countries for food trade should be short-term, transparent, targeted and appropriate, and conform to the rules of the World Trade Organization; supporting the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and the cooperation on agricultural science and technology innovation among countries, and reducing restrictions on high-tech exchanges; reducing food loss and waste; helping developing countries enhance their capacity for food production, storage and loss reduction in terms of capital, technology, market and others. These initiatives are actively responded to by many developing countries.
It has been a universal consensus that the joint efforts of the international community are the inevitable choice to solve the global issues of food security. China will continue to firmly follow the path of food security with Chinese characteristics, and strengthen food security cooperation with other countries including Canada while ensuring its food security, to make more contributions to attaining the United Nations’ goals of “ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture” by 2030.