By Albert Nyberg, World Bank

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Additional info for At China's table: food security options, Volume 113

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China's average fertilizer application rate is therefore below the East Asian developing country average and far below that in Japan and the Republic of Korea, where yields are higher. This low application rate may result from the limited supply. Planning guidelines call for nitrogen self-sufficiency and 75 percent self-sufficiency in phosphates by 2000, with the increased production to come from large plants that would cost more than $5 billion. This 2000 objective will not be met. 1 million tons of nitrogen equivalent.

The land base is steadily diminished by residential and industrial encroachment and infrastructure construction. Since 1988 construction has removed 190,000 hectares of agricultural land from cultivation annually, about a third of the annual decrease. ) These losses have been concentrated in the Shandong and southeastern coastal provinces, where high multiple cropping compounds the land loss. Land reclamation, averaging 245,000 hectares annually, has partially mitigated those losses (though newly reclaimed land is less productive than that lost to capital construction).

With grain imports projected to triple over the next twenty-five years, large investments will be needed in port facilities. Without new facilities, massive vessel congestion and demurrage charges will be incurred. China has only one deep-water berth dedicated to bulk grain handling, with one other under construction. Most grain is now imported on 45,00050,000 dwt vessels, costing at least $10 more per ton in transocean freight charges than 80,000 dwt vessels. Without more deep-water facilities, trebling imports could add $400 million in transport costs.

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