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Grain Demand to Surpass Output in 2006: Minister
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Though China's national grain output in 2005 hit 480 million tons, the demand in 2006 is to exceed the output by 15 million tons, said the Chinese Minister of Agriculture Du Qinglin.


Thursday's People's Daily published an interview with Du. The minister pointed out China is still facing imbalanced grain supply and demand.


Figure from the ministry shows that China increased a total of 50 million tons grain output over the 2003 figure, a record high in history.


But Du said there still exists a gap between demand and supply in the grain sector, though the gap has been narrowed from 50 million tons in 2003 to 15 million tons in next year.


According to Du, a total of 495 million tons grains will be needed in China in 2006.


A distinct problem for the gap is the imbalanced varietal structure, said Du.


In 2005, China's output of rice, wheat and corn will reach 182 million tons, 97.5 million tons and 134.5 million tons respectively, said statistics with the ministry.


While Chinese people will lack 13 million tons of rice, 8 million tons of wheat and 20 million tons of soybeans in 2006, with only the output of corn exceeding the demand, said Du.


Du said the demand for grain in China will increase by five million tons year by year, and China must seek ways to further expand domestic output to meet the demand, with only limited part depending on imports from the overseas.


(Xinhua News Agency December 30, 2005)


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