On the 19th of January the official website of the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China issued a notification, declaring that the development of the rice bran industry in order to promote rice bran in the diet is essential for the enhancement of nutrition and health of its masses and it will also help in promoting food loss reduction. The website also mentioned that in 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs formulated the National Rural Industry Development Plan (2020-2025) to promote the comprehensive utilization of rice husks, rice bran, wheat bran and other by-products.
However, the promotion of rice bran as the staple food of China has raised many concerns among the Chinese people. People are worried about whether it has something to do with the ongoing food shortage in the country, as since 2020, shortages remain a major issue for the Chinese masses. Many people have linked it with the use of rice bran as a staple food by the Chinese in the Great Chinese famine.
Rice bran is extracted from the outer layer of rice (Oryza sativa). It is mostly used as animal feed and to extract oil. Earlier, on the debate of whether to include rice barn in the daily diet or not, many experts have raised concerns regarding the low nutrition value in rice barn. Then why is China eager to promote rice bran?
Many reports claim that this is because of the ongoing food crisis. China is not self-sufficient when it comes to food. It was in 34th place out of 113 countries in the 2021 Global Food Security Index. It heavily depends on imports. In 2022, China will import more than 120 million tons of grain and even more, 164.5 million tonnes of grain in 2021. Imports of soybeans (which is a staple food in China) increased sharply. About 80% of all soybeans in the country are imported. Unnatural flooding in Henan and surrounding areas has had an
unprecedented impact on the food security of China. Apart from global warming, the loss of arable land for agriculture is also a primary issue behind the rising food crisis. China has some one fifth of the population of the world. However, only 11% of land in the country is said to be what we call suitable for agriculture. The Russia-Ukraine war has also impacted the food supply chain, creating havoc in the country.
A statement by the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China has raised concern among the netizens as-well. A hot debate has erupted about the Chinese government’s handling of the food crisis in the country, where suddenly leaders are asking the masses ‘to not waste food’