China expects an increase in grain output for the fifth consecutive year, with production to exceed 510 million tons, the State grain information center said.
"We estimate that this year's harvest will be 511.5 million tons, up more than 10 million tons from 2007," the center's vice-director Yang Weilu was quoted as saying by China Securities Journal Monday.
Rice production will be 185.49 million tons, up 1.01 million tons from last year, while wheat will increase 2.64 million tons to 109.86 million tons, the center said.
The country is also likely to harvest 151.83 million tons of corn and 17.54 million tons of beans, up 4.17 million and 3.46 million tons respectively.
Yang said there should be no major fluctuations in the country's grain prices.
"More grain reserves led by the expected production increase, and State price controls, will ensure stable grain prices," he said.
China has adopted multiple measures and policies since late last year in a bid to stabilize grain prices and promote agricultural production, including curbing the export of grain, raising subsidies for farmers and tackling fertilizer price increases.
Ministry of Agriculture statistics show that China has mainly relied on itself to feed its population.
In another development, the Chinese authorities have stepped up inspection and quarantine measures on meat products imported from a Canadian company involved in a fatal bacterial outbreak.
Nine people in Canada have so far been confirmed to have died as of Friday from listeriosis caused by contaminated meat products of Maple Leaf Foods, Canadian health officials said.
The company's Toronto plant 97B, where the contamination took place, has never sold products to China, while Canada has halted China-bound exports from the company's other related facilities, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said.
"We will closely watch the situation and take timely measures to keep the tainted products out for the safety of Chinese consumers," the administration said.
The Canadian company has closed down its Toronto factory and issued a recall of more than 270 products after a consumer died from eating its tainted cooked meat on August 20.
The Public Health Agency of Canada said there were 29 confirmed cases of the outbreak in the country and 35 cases under investigation as of Friday.
Listeriosis can cause flu-like symptoms, such as stiff necks, headaches, nausea and fever. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk of being infected.
(Xinhua News Agency September 2, 2008)