China lost around 18 to 20 million tons of grain annually due to inadequate storage by farmers, the State Grain Administration has claimed.
The losses were valued at between 18 and 24 billion yuan (US$2.25 to three billion) each year.
The administration found in a survey that at least 60 percent of China's grain output was kept by some 240 million rural households, as Chinese farmers held the belief that they had no worries as long as they had enough grain in hand.
Farmers in China's major grain-producing areas usually stored grain in knitted bags, gunny bags and clay vessels, which failed to prevent rot or stop mice and insects eating the contents.
Also, the irrational spraying of pesticides by farmers while storing grain could lead to high chemical residues, posing serious health risks.
The administration called on officials to help rural households to improve storage to reduce losses, increase farmers' income and ensure food safety.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization said the world lost around eight percent of total grain output each year due to insects and rot.
China, the world's most populous country, faces challenges in grain security due to its decreasing farmland area and a population increasing by more than 10 million each year.
The country's grain output is expected to hit more than 490 million tons in 2006.
(Xinhua News Agency October 19, 2006)