Food Supply Concerns in China Despite Return to Business as Usual

Many people in China are worried about the security of the country’s food supply.
Many people in China are worried about the security of the country’s food supply.

April 9, 2020 — As the Chinese government has encouraged a “return to normalcy” throughout the country, concerns are rising about the security of the food supply and the reopening of wet markets.

Food shortage rumors have been circulating throughout the country for weeks, however, the government has denied that there are any food shortages in China. On the contrary, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MOARA) is emphasizing that the food supply is maintaining steadily, stating that “there has been enough wheat to meet demand for years, and more than enough rice, so local grain security is definitely guaranteed.”

Despite these assurances, there has been a second round of panic-buying in China as the public continues to be gripped by rumors. In response to this, MOARA states “We have enough to keep shelves stocked and maintain stable prices so there is no need for panic buying.” Emphasis was also placed on local grain production being a pillar of support in the fight against the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.

Along with assuring the security of the food supply, the Chinese government is encouraging individuals and food businesses to get back to business as usual. This includes the re-opening of wet markets that sell wildlife. These wet markets have been the speculated origin of the coronavirus that is now sweeping across the world.

The opening of these wet markets has sparked local and international outrage. Some people argue that the current lack of oversight over these markets, especially given the recent COVID-19 outbreak, will cause a second wave of infections in China. Some world leaders are calling for the ban of wet markets completely in order to prevent the resurgence of COVID-19.

With concerns about the food supply and the opening of wet markets continuing despite government assurances, it remains to be seen how the Chinese government will proceed over the coming days and weeks to bring the country “back to normal”.