Appraisal and strategic thinking on food security status of China

ZHANG Yuanhong1 LIU Changquan1 GUO Lulai1

(1.Rural Development Institute of Chinese Academy of Social Science)

【Abstract】Based on internationally accepted concept of food security, this paper appraised the status, trends and problems of food security of China by constructing indices representing supply, distribution, consumption, utilization ratio, result, stability, sustainability and regulation ability, to appraise the status, trends and problems of food security of China. Result shows that food security of China is at high level and has kept rising during the past years. China has advantages in food security, which are manifested by the facts that many indices such as rate of self-sufficiency, per capita supply of energy and protein are higher than those of world average level, and even the average level of the developed nations. Main problems of food security of China are inappropriate composition of nutrition and unsustainability of environment. Further improvement of food security could be achieved by adjusting production structure, employing more environment-friendly way of production, emphasizing management of consumption, reducing overconsumption and losses, lowering rate of storage appropriately.

【Keywords】 food security; index; food self-sufficiency; sustainability;


【Funds】 Innovation Project of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Download this article

(Translated by PENG Yang)


    [1]. 1Xinhua Net. (2013-07-22). [^Back]

    [2]. 1 An alternative indicator is residents’ income per capita. However, it is not adopted because the urban and rural residents’ income is measured by the disposable income of town residents and the net income of rural residents per capita, both of which use different statistical caliber and are not suited to be compared with international counterparts. [^Back]

    [3]. 2 In America, there is a considerable proportion of food to be used in processing ethanol. [^Back]

    [4]. 1 Fao,Methodology for the Measurement of Food Deprivation:Updating the Minimum Dietary Energy Requirements(httlp:// dology.pdf,Rome,October,2008). [^Back]

    [5]. 2 The data are mainly composed of grain and soybean. [^Back]

    [6]. 1 In order to eliminate the influence of outliers in calorie intake, this study, referring to Zhu Xi et al. (2011), winsorizes the figures that stay at the level of +1%, that is, to make all figures that are less than 1% (more than 99%) equal 1% (99%). Zhu, X., Shi, Q., & Gai, Q. Economic Research Journal (经济研究), (5) (2011). [^Back]

    [7]. 1 Index calculation involves much data from the Food Balance Sheet issued by FAO. After the comparison with the outputs of main farm produce released by Chinese authority, only a little gap is identified between them. [^Back]

    [8]. 2 In some similar studies, the method of factor analysis is adopted to get weight, which is actually the reflection of the share of factor (indicator) in the changing process of data, thus the value of weight is related to the variation of data. In reality, however, the variation and the importance of indicators pertinent to food security are not consistent with each other. Therefore, the weight obtained by factor analysis fails to reflect the real case. As a result, after trial calculation and comparison, this study gives up the seemingly objective weighting method eventually. [^Back]

    [9]. 1 Lower than 11.5%, an estimation of FAO. [^Back]

    [10]. 1 The specific goal is that the production capacity of food and grain should reach 540 billion kg and 475 billion kg respectively in 2020, and the food consumption per capita should be 395 kg. [^Back]


    [1] Cederberg C, Sonesson U., Van Otterdijk R., Meybeck A. Global food losses and food waste: extent, causes and prevention. Rome, FAO, 2011.

    [2] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): The State of Food and Agriculture 2013, Rome, 2013, www.feo.oig/publications

    [3] Pearce J.,Hiscock R.,Blakely T.,Witten K.The contextual effects of neighbourhood access to supermarkets and convenience stores on individual Suit and vegetable consumption. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health,2008,62(3),pp:198-201.

    [4] Powell L.M “Auld M.C,Chaloupka F.J” O’ Malley P. M., Johnston L. D. Associations between access to food stores and adolescent body mass index. American journal of preventive medicine, 2007, 33(4), pp: 301-307.

    [5] The Economist Intelligence Unit: Global food security index 2013, July 2013.

    [6] Gao, F. Economic Theory and Business Management (12) (2005).

    [7] Economic Regulation and Control Department of State Administration of Grain. Macroeconomics (9) (2014).

    [8] He, A., Liu, T. & Zhang, Y. China Price(6) (2013).

    [9] Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations. The State of World Food Insecurity 2012.

    [10] Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations, World Food Program, International Fund for Agricultural Development. The State of World Food Insecurity 2012: Economic Growth is Necessary but not Sufficient in Reduction of Hunger and Malnutrition.

    [11] Liu, J., Li, L. & Wang, Z. Review of China Agricultural Science and Technology. (6) (2004).

    [12] Lu, H. Practice in Foreign Economic Relations and Trade. (3) (2008).

    [13] Ma, J., Zhang, X. & Gu, H. Management World(1) (2001).

    [14] Miao, Q, Zhong, F. Problems of Agricultural Economy (11) (2006).

    [15] Department of Rural Survey. Statistical Research. (8) (2005).

    [16] Sun, F., Li, Z. Special Zone Economy (4) (2005).

    [17] Zhang, S. Review of Economic Research (13) (2007).

    [18] Zhu, Z. China’s Food Security: Empirical Research and Policy Choice. Hubei Science and Technology Press (1998).

This Article


CN: 11-3586/F

Vol , No. 01, Pages 2-14+29+93

January 2015


Article Outline


  • 1 Literature review
  • 2 Construction of indicator system
  • 3 Data and method
  • 4 Main findings and judgments
  • 5 Suggestions on the improvement of food security status
  • Footnote