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Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 542;

The Challenges and Strategies of Food Security under Rapid Urbanization in China

Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Center for Assessment and Research on Targeted Poverty Alleviation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 15 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
PDF [1709 KB, uploaded 21 January 2019]


Food security has received wide attention in China for a long time due to the challenges of a huge population and limited farmland area. Under conditions of rapid urbanization, the food scenario has changed, creating major challenges for massive populations in China. This paper intends to reveal the impact of urbanization on food security and to propose strategies for mitigating the threats to it. Total grain production has continuously increased, but most of the grain production has been distributed in the northern region since 2006. Although the per capita rural income has increased significantly since 1980, the agricultural income ratio has consistently declined from 56.13% in 1983 to 26.61% in 2012. A dramatic shift in food consumption away from grain towards meat, poultry, eggs, milk and liquor has been found in both rural and urban areas. The faster agricultural water consumption growth in northern China over southern China helped close the gap. There has been net increase of cultivated land in northern China, whereas southern China has seen a net decrease. The medium- and low-level cultivation ratios of land were 52.84% and 17.69%, respectively, in 2015. This paper concluded that food security in China could be ensured by increasing production and optimizing consumption. It suggested that enhanced grain production capacity, strict water management, and land consolidation engineering as well as agricultural industrialization could be used for maintaining grain production. Food consumption itself can be managed by optimizing resident dietary pattern, reducing food waste, adjusting grain consumption structure and moderating food imports policy. View Full-Text
Keywords: food security; rapid urbanization; grain production; food consumption patterns; food policy food security; rapid urbanization; grain production; food consumption patterns; food policy

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Wang, Y.-S. The Challenges and Strategies of Food Security under Rapid Urbanization in China. Sustainability 2019, 11, 542.

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