Tuesday, May 6, 2014

China's need for food. A dilemma.

As China becomes increasingly affluent, there seems to be a change in what this huge nation ‘eats.’ Whilst the ‘traditional’ and extensive cuisine still retains a massive following, there is also an emergence of a wish to ‘eat from other cultures,’ along with the accompanying ‘beverages.’ New Zealand is well placed to take advantage of this movement as the rich and middle classes seek out new culinary experiences. This is good for New Zealand and draws us together as nations. New Zealand continues to import large amounts of Chinese manufactured goods and in return exports to China. Overall, most seeing this two way trade as a ‘win win’ situation.
I have read reports that as more and more Chinese move to the cities the rural population is becoming smaller, often leaving behind the elderly and the very young. This imbalance will have huge implications for China in the future. The agricultural base is now very different from that of just a few decades ago and for China to be able to feed itself, there is going to be a need to import more food or for China to become heavily involved in ‘joint-ventures,’ with other countries. Some would see this as a negative. For me, it depends on the relationship. I am not in favour of ‘any’ nation buying up huge amounts of land in developing countries and then imposing a ‘monoculture’ on that country. Unless the local farmers are part of the deal, I see more negatives.
China must feed its people, and the way forward is going to be fraught with difficulty; ones I hope that New Zealand plays a part, re a solution rather than creating other unforeseen problems around pollutions and unequal economic sharing.  China has ‘arrived’ as one of the most significant economies in the world, and NZ must take advantage of this, but on ‘equal terms.’