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Draft plans look to boost food security

Pub Date:2020-08-26 15:05 Source:China Daily

Authorities call for technical talent that could help guarantee nation's reserves

China's food reserve authority recently released two draft plans on strengthening reserves through technology and talent support, aiming to make significant improvements within the next three to five years to help guarantee the nation's food security.

According to the plans by the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, a series of innovations for the strategic food reserve will be promoted by 2025, and a special group working on technological innovation will be created.

New technologies, such as big data, artificial intelligence, 5G technology and cloud computing will be fully adopted by the food reserve industry, from granary security to emergency management.

Moreover, the plans set a five-year goal to build at least five technology platforms with collaboration between enterprises, universities and research institutes, instilling new vitality to the reserve industry.

By 2025, China will have a large talent pool that is knowledgeable about food reserves and has a higher education background, according to the plans.

"Experienced employees with excellent professional skills will take a share of at least 28 percent of the country's total number of workers in the industry," according to the plans.

In addition, professional education and training systems on food reserves will be promoted at all levels nationwide by 2025, and a reward mechanism will be established to boost innovation in the industry.

According to the administration, the two drafts are now soliciting public opinions from research institutes and related departments at all levels through Sept 10.

"Innovation is the driving force behind the development. We should build a sustainable and high-quality food reserve system with support from both new technology and talent, further contributing to the country's food security," said Zhang Wufeng, head of the administration.

At a conference on Tuesday, Zhang said related departments also should expand more channels to introduce high-quality talent from overseas while making stronger efforts to develop the country's own food security talent.

Currently, China has about 1.92 million workers in the food and strategic reserve industry, with about 35 percent having a college education, said Jia Qian, deputy head of the administration.

Technological innovations have laid a solid foundation for the country's strategic reserves in recent years to guarantee the nation's food security, said Zhang Zhongjie, a researcher from the Academy of National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration.

Of those innovations, a newly designed granary developed by research teams from the academy has played a crucial role in reducing grain reserve costs while making humidity and temperature control much easier, according to Zhang.

As of last year, the new granary has been used by 97 grain enterprises in 24 provincial areas, with total grain storage of at least 3 million metric tons. Between 2014 and 2018, the new granary cut food storage costs by 50 million yuan ($7.1 million).

However, Zhang said the country's food reserve industry is now facing a new challenge-aging employees.

"Workers at the production line are aged 50 on average," he said.

Zhang called for more financial and policy support to encourage young people to join the industry and suggested that food security education be enhanced for the younger generation.

"China's grain inventory has been kept at a high level. The stockpile of rice and wheat, two staple grains of the country, can feed the whole population for more than one year," Zhang said. "Although China has no problem feeding its people, we still need to treasure food, beginning during childhood."


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