On March 21, COFCO chairman Frank Ning attended “China Development Forum 2015” and delivered a keynote speech on the topic of “who is responsible for China’s rice bag” at a panel discussion. He pointed out that COFCO hopes to build a global network of grain supply chain so as to make the global grain market more efficient and orderly and benefit producers as well as consumers.
In his speech, Mr. Frank Ning reviewed the outbreak of global food crisis in 2008 and noted that China is confronted with the regional imbalance of grain production and consumption although it is no longer worried about any food crisis. He believed that re-allocation of resources can be achieved through trade and the only solution to global food safety is the free trade.
Mr. Frank Ning also stressed that the increase of China’s food refers to not only the increase of rice and wheat supply but also that of high protein food such as meat, egg, and poultry. As the continuation of this trend implies the need to produce more grain, COFCO will have to find out how to achieve the output while making better use of resources as well as domestic and foreign markets.
As to COFCO’s investment in Nidera and Noble Agri in 2014, Mr. Frank Ning hoped that such an international network established through overseas takeover can make an effective purchase so as to shape a more efficient and orderly global grain market, which can benefit both producers and consumers.
“Meanwhile, we will make better use of technology to achieve re-allocation of grains. So there is nothing to worry about. We are 100% certain that China will enjoy ample food supply to fill its rice bag,” said Mr. Frank Ning.
In his speech on the same topic, Mr. Han Jun, deputy director of the Office of Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs and deputy director of the Office of Central Rural Work Leading Group, also highlighted China’s need to moderately import agricultural products in short supply on the precondition that the food security for its 1.3 billion population can be absolutely assured. Meanwhile, efforts should be made to develop some internationally competitive agricultural industrial groups and enterprises like COFCO enjoy the government support to invest overseas. He emphasized that the so-called “go out policy” does not refer to the purchase of land. Instead, it calls for the strengthened cooperation in agricultural products processing, storage and transportation, trade and technology.
Sponsored by the Development Research Center of the State Council and hosted by the China Development Research Foundation, the annual meeting of China Development Forum 2015 was held on March 21-23, 2015 in Beijing’s Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. The theme of this forum is “China’s Economy in the ‘New Normal’”.