JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2021, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (6): 1573-1587.doi: 10.31497/zrzyxb.20210617

• Food Security Governance • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Analyses of supply-demand balance of agricultural products in China and its policy implication

ZHANG Yong-xun(), LI Xian-de()   

  1. Institute of Agricultural Economics and Development, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2020-08-03 Revised:2021-01-26 Online:2021-06-28 Published:2021-08-28
  • Contact: LI Xian-de;


Food security is crucial to China's stability, development and international trade order. In this study, provincial-level administrative regions were taken as the basic unit to calculate the soil and water resources demand that can ensure the food self-sufficiency of each province continuously and to evaluate the carrying capacity of water and soil resources in each province. This study calculated the agricultural products for eating and reproducing and unavoidable food loss, without considering the difference of farmland quality in different regions of China. The required data referred to the provincial permanent population, food consumption per capita, data on agricultural products per unit area, and arable land and water resources from statistical yearbooks of China from 2017 to 2019; the arable land and water consumption parameters were obtained from relevant literature. Using ecological footprint and water footprint method, this study results are as follows: The total arable land resource in China is 1.81 times as much as the total demand for arable land, which means that the current arable land resource can fully meet the food production demand of Chinese people. However, there are large differences between provinces. The arable land in provinces or municipalities with a developed economy in coastal China is insufficient. The total available water resources for agriculture are 7.15 times as much as the general agricultural water demand and 1.78 times as much as the agricultural water demand to keep environmental sustainability, respectively. Thus, the available water resources for agriculture can fully meet the agricultural products demand of Chinese people. But the water resource of the North China Plain and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, as the important regions producing agricultural products, is deficit; the provinces on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and south of the Yangtze River have more available water resources. The spatial mismatch of water and soil resources restricts the crops production potential. If we do not consider the water demand for environmental pollution purification, the matching state of soil and water resources can meet the need of agricultural products nationwide; however, if we consider that, it is difficult to achieve self-sufficiency in agricultural products. There is a huge food deficit in food demand of 337155 thousand persons. Guided by the theory of sustainable development of resources and environment, China should take the following measures to ensure food security: (1) optimizing the distribution of agricultural production; (2) adjusting agricultural structure; (3) moving industries with highly consumed water and labor-intensity to the regions with rich water resources; (4) promoting technological progress, products import, and international cooperation in agriculture in the future.

Key words: food security, resource carrying capacity, supply-demand balance, trades of agricultural products, distribution of agricultural production, cultivated land, water resources