Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by Carla P. Freeman
Chapter 12: Globalizing grain: how China is reshaping global agriculture
In 1985, a provincial official from the Chinese province of Hebei visited Muscatine, Iowa on an agricultural research trip to the United States. As part of a China-US sister province to state agreement to foster closer cooperation, the official learned about vegetable and animal farming practices, seeding technologies, and grain processing systems. More than two and a half decades later, the young official returned to Muscatine, this time as the Vice President – and soon to be President – of China. This personal story of Xi Jinping could very well symbolize the country’s expanding role and rising importance in global agriculture, both in the developed and the developing world. Food production is not solely a domestic economic issue. The global reach of China in agriculture is fundamentally restructuring patterns of agricultural production and food consumption. The production and circulation of food is reshaping economic, political, social, and international relations between Asia and the developing world, creating and restructuring international political economy networks, international trade patterns, multinational corporate structures, aid and investment flows, as well as domestic political economy coalitions and public policies.
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