Demand, Supply, Sustainability and Security
Edited by Raghbendra Jha, Raghav Gaiha and Anil B. Deolalikar
Chapter 9: Dietary change, nutrient transition and food security in fast-growing China
China is perhaps one of the most viable developing countries around the world. The economy has witnessed a miracle of consistent and fast growth at an annual rate of 10 per cent for more than three decades. Large population, lagging rural areas and prosperous coastal cities are all distinguishing marks of the country. Along with its socioeconomic transformation, China has also been undergoing a marked transition in its diet and nutritional status. In the Chinese context, there have been gradual institutional changes in agricultural and food industries since the early 1980s, which have led to subsequent shifts in food consumption. In particular, the Household Responsibility System established between 1981 and 1984, released agricultural productivity, which in turn contributed to 49 per cent (Lin, 1992) of the annual income growth of 7.5 per cent during that period (Ravallion, 2009). Meanwhile, the state procurement covered fewer products (from 113 in 1981 to 60 in 1984; Zhang, 2001) and food prices increased by 8.1 per cent per annum (Fan et al., 1995) because of the lifted price control. However, the agricultural procurement price remained about half the market price (Brandt and Holz, 2006) and staple foods were rationed until 1993. Between 1993 and 1995, the central government introduced further relaxation of price controls in order to increase farmers' incomes. With the abolition of agricultural taxes in 2004, there have been successive increases in grain yields since 2003.
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