China to strengthen mechanisms against animal diseases

China to strengthen mechanisms against animal diseases

China is reportedly drawing up plans to secure the supply of food in the midst of the global coronavirus crisis, including strengthening mechanisms against diseases such as African swine fever, which has decimated the country's hog herds.

It will also encourage farmers to produce more rice and will seek to diversify imports of major agricultural products, while guaranteeing the stable supply of grains, edible oils, meat, eggs, fruits, and vegetables, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in an annual report to parliament today (22 May), according to Reuters.

China will continue to foster a recovery in its pig numbers hit by African swine fever, although the disease still remains a threat to hog production, Reuters quoted agriculture minister Han Changfu as saying. However, the country will not see a big increase in prices, the minister added.

Authorities have urged state and private firms to boost inventories of major agriculture products such as soybeans and corn as a safety net against future disruption to supply.

"It is imperative, and it is well within our ability, to ensure the food supply for 1.4 billion Chinese people through our own efforts," China's Premier Li Keqiang told parliament.

China will keep total crop acreage and grain output stable this year, give more rewards to major grain-producing countries, and raise the minimum purchase price of rice, Li said.