Eight to ten percent of the grain nationwide, or 15 to 20 million tons valuing 18 to 24 billion yuan (US$2.25 to 3 billion), are spoiled each year in storage and transportation.
According to the research, 60 percent of the grain is in the hand of farmers, 240 million households in total, rather than sold to the governments.
"'Grain in hand, nothing to panic', the old adage shows the psychology of farmers," said Qiao Gexin, vice-minister of the SGA, "they fear that stored grain is not enough for their own and tend to store more."
In the Dingtao County in east China's Shandong Province, for instance, only 100 million of the harvested 250 million tons of wheat was sold whereas the rest is stored in farmer's barns.
The grain is stored in bags made by matting or gunny, which are prone to mice or pest spoiling. Lack of knowledge and advanced equipment is also blamed for the ruin.
Grain storage is a major task in the 11th "Five-Year Plan" period, noted Qiao.
Experts are calling for promotion of "Green Storage" of grain, which features compulsory refrigeration of food and pollutant-free pest-prevention system, according to professor Wang Ruolan with the Henan Industry University.
(China.org.cn, Xinhua News Agency October 26, 2006)