International grain prices experienced a sharp increase during the 2020/2021 marketing season, most likely due to the unprecedented increase of imported grains by China. What would be the possible impact on international grain markets if China remains a strong grain importer? The scenario developed to explore the impact of such a development shows that further increases in Chinese grain imports over the medium term could result in a 4% to 25% increase in agriculture commodity prices compared to what was projected in the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2021-2030.
The expansion of agricultural production in China has been remarkable, but at the expense of the sustainable use of its natural resources. To counter this, as well as to face problems due to rising labour costs and a rapidly ageing rural population, agricultural production must concentrate on a smaller number of more productive farms. It is in this light that this report reviews recent policy developments to assess whether they have been conducive to productivity growth and environmental sustainability. It finds that the conditions for structural change and innovation at the farm level in China could be further improved by securing the long-term stability of land rights as well as reducing transaction costs. Greater policy coherence with agri-environmental policy objectives could also be achieved through stricter enforcement of environmental regulations. Finally, the agricultural innovation system could play a greater role by placing the focus on public agricultural R&D in areas such as the environment and resource conservation, and in other areas which do not attract much private sector investment.
Urbanisation in China has long been held back by various restrictions on land and internal migration but has taken off since the 1990s, as these impediments started to be gradually relaxed. People have moved in large numbers to richer cities, where productivity is higher and has increased further thanks to agglomeration effects.
Governance is the next issue the People’s Republic of China needs to tackle. This report shows how governance impacts on public action by looking at different policy sectors, takes stock of the progress made in public management and public finance, and explores policy options for the future.