China's food supply system is in a better position to cope with emergencies after pandemic-induced disruptions exposed vulnerabilities in supply chains, an official said Thursday.
The amount of grain and oil reserves in 36 large and medium-sized cities are capable of feeding local residents for 15 days, and most food producers have a "relatively high" level of raw material inventory, said Cong Liang, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, the nation's top economic planner.
"With farmers holding reserves, China's grain storage system has become more diverse and has strengthened its ability to ensure food security," he told a news conference held by the State Council Information Office in Beijing.
Cong, also head of the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, said there is already in place a nationwide network of 6,584 food processors, 4,846 storage and transportation companies, 3,542 delivery centers and 56,495 outlets that can be mobilized in times of emergency.
The network is capable of supplying 1.64 million metric tons of food daily, enough to feed the entire population for two days, he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has tested food security nationwide and has highlighted the significance of emergency capacity building.
Cong noted that the country's grain emergency response system still has "weak links". Response plans remain incomplete, emergency supplies are unevenly distributed and some food processors and suppliers failed to be mobilized.
"Next, we will build a well-resourced system with a more optimal structure, wider coverage, better management and faster transportation," he said.
To do that, the country is set to revise the National Grain Emergency Plan and improve the management of major food processors and other players in the sector so that they can more actively participate in such programs, Cong said.
In addition, cross-regional cooperation will be enhanced to better ensure food supply, he added.
According to the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, various enterprises purchase an average of around 400 million tons of grains each year.
The boost in the emergency food supply capability is part of broader progress made in China's food production and supply system.
China's grain warehouses are capable of providing about 700 million tons of storage capacity, an official said on Thursday, on par with the country's annual grain output.
Cong said China has secured bumper harvests for 19 years in a row, and its annual grain yield has exceeded 650 million tons for eight consecutive years.
The per capita grain output stands at 483 kilograms, higher than the internationally recognized security line of 400 kg.
"The overall storage conditions have generally reached world-advanced levels, and the grain logistics network has seen improvements," he said.