China is set to produce a major crop of rice this year, in a major shift in policy from the country’s previous practice of leaving rice to farmers in the growing season.
China will start to plant more than a third of its new primary crop this year – an estimated 2 million tonnes – which could potentially make it the world’s biggest rice producer, with Brazil and Japan among the other major countries on the horizon.
It has long been a staple in China, which relies heavily on rice for its economic growth and population growth.
China has said it wants to boost rice production by as much as 30 per cent from 2016-2020, according to a Reuters report.
At the same time, the country is also expected to raise subsidies to farmers, with the government promising that subsidies for rice will go up by 25 per cent in 2020 and up to 60 per cent over the next five years.
Rice prices rose in the first half of this year.
“The policy change will enable rice farmers to have more income,” China’s state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Zhang Guoqiang, an adviser to the State Council of Agriculture, as saying in a statement.
The decision to switch to a primary crop has been seen as a big success by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is trying to revive the economy after years of economic stagnation.