by Vaclav Smil
American Enterprise Institute
April 02, 2014
There is always some reason for the West to worry about China. In many cases, the world might hope that things not go entirely China’s way. But there is one concern where everybody should wish to see China successful: preservation of the country’s high-quality arable land. Tiny nations can be fed entirely by imports, but a China with imports on the scale of a small nation, such as South Korea, would absorb all of the world’s traded grain and still be short. Consequently, it is in the interest of the scores of grain-importing countries that China remains a relatively small-scale buyer of food and feed grains. While major grain producers could sell more of their product, higher prices in these countries, where most of the domestic supply goes toward animal feed, would raise meat prices, and drought-induced low-production years would have a globally destabilizing impact.



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