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The Wheat Industry in China


Wheat is one of the most essential grain crops in the world and it ranks second to rice as the most important food grain. Wheat, together with rice, corn and soybean are some of the major food crops that are staple foods of billions of people in the world. China is the largest producer of wheat globally, closely followed by India and United States. The average production of wheat in China is around 108,712 thousand metric ton annually. In 2012, the output volume of wheat in China was 4,995 kg per hectare, which was an increase of 158 kg from the previous year. The production of wheat grain in China was 125.6 million metric tons in 2012. However, the percentage of arable land in China has decreased steadily in recent years.

Traditionally, Chinese people consumed more of rice than wheat. But in the last two decades, the consumption of wheat has increased drastically. Most of the wheat grain in China is milled into flour and used for producing a variety of food products ranging from bakery goods, noodles and bread. With rise in population and living standard of people, the demand and consumption of wheat is going to increase. Around two third of the total wheat production in China comes from the plains of north China. The other one third of wheat cultivation in China comes from the central provinces of China.

As far as wheat cultivation is concerned, there are two seasonal wheat crop production in China; winter wheat production and spring wheat production. In China, winter wheat is planted in from mid-September to October and harvested in mid-May to late June. Winter wheat variety is cultivated in the province of Shandong and Henan, with Shandong cultivating 21.2% and Henan producing 20.4% of the total production of winter wheat in China. Spring wheat is planted from mid-March to April and harvested from July to mid-August. The major regions that produce spring wheat in China are Inner Mongolia and Heilongjang and both areas yield roughly 50% of total spring wheat in China.

This year, wheat production in China has been hit by early frost and heavy rainstorms. Crop damage has forced China to import more wheat grains to fulfill its domestic demand. In the coming years, the import volume of wheat is predicted to increase, fueling rise in global price of wheat grains.

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