The rapid growth in China’s food industry is expected to continue over the next five years, enabling the sector positions itself as the country’s largest industry by 2020.

Food processing and agricultural output are now major pillars of strength within the domestic economy, and as China accedes to the World Trade Organisation there will be further opportunities for consolidation in this sector.

Officials are hoping that this will be the case particularly in terms of Xianggu mushrooms, which are becoming increasing popular as global consumers tend towards natural and green foods. Harvested in undeveloped mountain areas, China hopes that with tighter packaging and quality controls, better refrigeration and transportation means, it will soon gain recognition as a major exporter and producer of the mushrooms.

Experts are also predicting that within five years, China will be importing maize rather than exporting it, as the country becomes increasing in tune with the supply and demand effect on prices in the international market. By 2010, the price of maize on the domestic market is expected to reflect a more global situation.

The output value of China’s food processing industry is expected to reach over 3 trillion Yuan in 2020 if the proportion of agricultural output value to food industrial output is one to one. If one to two, the value could hit 6 trillion Yuan.