We are republishing this important and informative article by Joe Scholten, originally published on the Multipolarista website.
Joe explains that, due to a number of factors, the world is facing a chronic rise in food prices and mounting fear of famine. However, “Beijing has shown how to strengthen food sovereignty, and simultaneously fight poverty with a multi-pronged approach that combines state-funded agricultural cooperatives, stockpiling of nonperishable staples, a crackdown on waste, and government investment in new technologies.”
China’s agriculture, he notes, “is still significantly organized on the basis of cooperative farming. Nearly half of farms are agricultural cooperatives.” Between 2013-2019, the Chinese government rebuilt more than 10,000 primary supply and marketing cooperatives. By 2019 they were present in 95% of the country’s towns – up from just 50% in 2013. This policy, he argues, was crucial to the success of the anti-poverty campaign, as were such key elements of China’s socialist construction as state ownership of land and five-year plans.
Other features of the Chinese experience cited in the article include the system of ‘Two Assurances and Three Guarantees’, ensuring adequate food reserves, the introduction of penalties for commercial food waste, the development of such innovative technologies as salt water-tolerant rice crops, and further strengthening the rights and interests of the working class by, for example, extending unionisation to new sectors of the economy, such as delivery workers for popular apps.
The Covid-19 pandemic, the ensuing supply-chain crisis, and high rates of inflation around the world have led to rising food prices and fears of famine.
These cascading and interlocking problems have pushed governments to prioritize economic self-sufficiency and food security.
China is leading the way in this struggle. Beijing has shown how to strengthen food sovereignty, and simultaneously fight poverty, with a multi-pronged approach that combines state-funded agricultural cooperatives, stockpiling of nonperishable staples, a crackdown on waste, and government investment in new technologies.
While the United Nations warns of “the specter of a global food shortage,” the Chinese government has provided countries with an alternative model to meet the needs of their people.Continue reading How China strengthened food security and fought poverty with state-funded cooperatives