Food securityChina invests $30 billion in water projects to ensure food security

Published 14 January 2011

China will invest $30 billion in water conservation projects this year to mitigate climate change’s effects on grain production; last year floods and droughts destroyed crops, increased food prices, and drove up inflation; climate change is projected to cause a 10 percent decline in grain production by 2030; China has already spent $100 billion on water conservation projects and hopes to double its annual investment

To reduce the impact of natural disasters on food production, China is investing $30 billion on water conservation projects this year.

China’s increased interest in water conservation comes as part of a broader push for food security and political stability.

Last year a series of floods and droughts hit the country destroying crops and dramatically driving up food prices. This in turn propelled inflation to its highest level in more than two years.

Minister of Water Resources Chen Lai said, “We have to accelerate the construction of water conservation facilities as one of the key infrastructures the country needs to secure increasing grain production.”

China has invested more than $100 billion in water projects in the past five years, and this year alone it plans to increase its annual investment by 10 percent. This money will go to projects combating weather-related disasters, improving irrigation, and ensuring safe drinking water for sixty million rural residents.

Chen hopes to double the current average annual investment in water conservation projects.

As a sign of its growing importance in China, “boosting water infrastructure construction in rural areas will be listed in the No 1 document of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China,” according to Chen Xiwen, deputy director of the Central Rural Work Leading Group.

These water projects will help China better adapt to climate change that is projected to cause a 10 percent drop in its grain harvest over the next twenty years.

A recent Greenpeace report offers a bleak assessment, reporting that China’s food supply will be insufficient by 2030 and that overall food production could fall by 23 percent in 2050.

To maintain food security and feed more than 1.3 billion people, AFP reports that China plans to increase grain production to 550 million tons by 2020. China currently produces 54.6 million tons of grain.

This increase in grain production is also aimed at managing inflation, as Chinese leadership is wary of its historical potential to spark unrest. Beijing has ordered several other key measures to curb inflation and secure food including a crackdown on speculators, financial help for the needy, and boosting supplies of key goods.