context: Whether grain production will survive the abnormal flooding in autumn remains unclear. The problems of delayed harvesting and planting have yet to be resolved, despite optimistic official comments.

MARA (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs) officials spoke positively at the press conference introducing the performance of ag and rural economy in the first three quarters of 2021. Specifically

  • annual grain output is very likely to reach a record high, above 650 million tonnes for the seventh consecutive year
  • ample supplies of ag products to ease concerns in the market
    • pig population returned to its 2017 level by September
    • output of beef, mutton and poultry increased by 4 percent y-o-y
    • output of milk increased by 8 percent y-o-y
    • output of aquatic products increased by 3.8 percent y-o-y
  • seed revitalisation and farmland improvement project are well on track
  • green reform is prioritised, providing opportunities for green and organic products and GI (geographical indications) produce
  • off-farm industries are developing, including ag processing, rural tourism and online sales of ag products
  • rural per capita disposable income increased by 11 percent y-o-y
  • fixed asset investment in the primary sector grew by 14 percent y-o-y
  • ag import value increased by 33 percent y-o-y, while that of exports rose by 9 percent

Heavy rains and floods in the north, notably Henan, Shanxi and Shaanxi, have posted real challenges to autumn harvest and planting, admitted Pan Wenbo 潘文博 MARA Department of Crop Farming Management director. Waterlogged land makes it impossible for harvesters to operate normally, increasing farmers’ costs. Some places even have to resort to manual work. Harvests in affected areas naturally fall behind schedule. Nevertheless, Pan still issues the assurance that there will be a nationwide bumper harvest. Fields in other provinces were not hit by floods, reporting higher output, he explained. He did not mention the impact of delayed planting, which is 27 percentage slower than last year, w in flood-affected areas and this will decide the summer harvest in 2022.