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China has cornered over half the world’s grain stocks amid catastrophic global food insecurity

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(TibetanReview.net, Jul23’22) – The United States has on Jul 22 called on China to join it in combating the global food crisis, noting that the country was stockpiling grain at a time when hundreds of millions of people elsewhere faced a catastrophic food insecurity especially due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, reported Reuters Jul 22.

“We would like to see it act like the great power that it is and provide more grain to the poor people around the world,” the report quoted James O’Brien, head of the US State Department’s Office of Sanctions Coordination, as saying.

“China has been a very active buyer of grain and it is stockpiling grain… at a time when hundreds of millions of people are entering the catastrophic phase of food insecurity.”

The report noted that China’s grain stocks at the end of the 2021/22 season were estimated by the International Grains Council to be 323.4 million tonnes, more than half the global total of 607.4 million. They dwarf those of the United States, the world’s top grain exporter, which were estimated at 57.8 million tonnes, the report added.

“We would like to see them play more of a role of making the grain available from their own stockpiles and by allowing WFP (World Food Programme) and others to obtain grain,” O’Brien has said.

He has noted that some 40% of the first grain shipments out of Ukraine in April went to China “which was awkward,” adding: “It would have been much better to see that grain going to Egypt, in the Horn of Africa and other places.”

The Chinese Embassy in Washington has maintained that China needed to maintain a certain amount of grain reserves because it had less than 9% of the world’s farmland, but it accounted for one fifth of the world’s population.

Russia and Ukraine are major global wheat suppliers, and Moscow’s Feb 24 invasion of its neighbour sent food prices soaring, stoking a global food crisis the World Food Programme says has pushed some 47 million people into “acute hunger,” the report noted.

O’Brien ‘ remarks came as the United States said it will hold Russia accountable for implementing a UN-brokered deal to resume Ukraine’s Black Sea grain exports.

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