The coronavirus is complicating matters. Lockdowns this spring have disrupted farming in big agricultural areas like Jilin Province. And many families, barred from leaving their apartments to go grocery shopping, have struggled to find enough food.
Some people have been stockpiling, worried they might face the same lockdown restrictions. Cai Wenling, a 43-year-old resident of Chongqing, said she had bought four gallons of rapeseed oil, nearly 100 bottles of mineral water, four weeks’ worth of milk and so much pork, beef and chicken that her refrigerator and freezer were full. She still plans to buy another 110 pounds of rice.
“Although I stocked up, I still feel confident in Chongqing’s epidemic prevention,” Ms. Cai said. “For middle-aged people like us, we would be more conservative when we consider things. We have the confidence, but preparedness averts peril. ”
China’s nervousness about its food stocks could ripple through the global supply chain.
China has the world’s largest foreign currency reserves, so it has the ability to buy as much wheat as it needs in world markets. But doing so could push the price of wheat even higher, making it unaffordable in many poor countries.
China’s next move will come down to the harvest.