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Issue Brief VI: China’s Soybean Struggle: A Quest for Food Security By Komal Pooja

Guided by Shri L V Krishnan, Former Director, (Safety Research), IGCAR, Kalpakkam & Distinguished Member, C3S.

Image Courtesy: South China Morning Post


Issue Brief 6/2024


C3S launched its Issue Brief initiative. An issue brief is a summary of the knowledge surrounding an issue or a problem. It summarizes the issue by giving clear, concise, and complete information describing all facets of a particular issue including a detailed illustration in the form of images, data, and facts. It also includes recommendations for action and predictions on the future course of an issue.


Abstract


China, the world's most populous nation, faces a significant challenge in securing its food supply, particularly regarding soybeans. This paper explores China's dependence on soybean imports and its efforts to achieve self-sufficiency through various strategies. Soybeans are crucial for China's food security, as they are used in protein consumption, animal feed, and industrial applications. However, domestic production struggles to meet rising demand due to limited arable land, water scarcity, and low yields compared to major exporters like Brazil and the United States. To address this gap, China is implementing a multi-pronged approach. It seeks to increase domestic production through policy initiatives, financial incentives for farmers, and the adoption of genetically modified (GM) soybeans. However, this approach faces challenges, including public skepticism towards GM technology, potential environmental consequences, and the uncertain effectiveness of these methods in overcoming resource constraints.


The paper also explores the geopolitical implications of China's soybean reliance. The trade war with the US and the Russia-Ukraine conflict highlights the vulnerability of depending on imports. China is exploring alternative suppliers and diversifying its import sources to mitigate these risks.


In conclusion, China's quest for soybean self-sufficiency is a complex issue with no easy solutions. The success of its strategies hinges on overcoming technical, social, and environmental hurdles while navigating a complex global political landscape.



Read the full Issue Brief at this link

Issue Brief VI (2)
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(Ms. Komal Pooja is a Research Intern at C3S. She is pursuing her Master's in International Relations at Christ Deemed to be University, Bengaluru. The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the views of C3S.)

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