Food security is a matter of great concern to the nation, and ensuring adequate food supply to over 1.4 billion Chinese people has always been the government’s top priority. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China over 70 years ago, the development of grain production capacity has always been the focus of the state’s efforts in agriculture and rural areas. On 9 percent of the world’s arable land, China produces nearly a quarter of the world’s grain and feeds nearly a fifth of the population on Earth, having successfully achieved basic self-sufficiency in grain through its own efforts and embarked on its own path to achieving food security with Chinese characteristics. 1 As we enter a new stage of development, embark on a new journey of building China into a modern socialist country, and base ourselves on the overall strategic situation of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and profound changes in the world unseen in a century, the primary task of the rural revitalization strategy and of our efforts to build an agricultural powerhouse is to ensure the country’s food security, which is the bedrock of stability for the economy, society, and the overall situation in the course of China’s modernization. There are two facts that we cannot ignore, however. First, as resource and environmental constraints on China’s agriculture tighten and as local governments’ focus on grain production and farmers’ motivation to grow grain weaken, we face multiple grave challenges in maintaining and increasing grain output.2 Second, postharvest grain losses and food waste are very common and considerable, further straining grain production and supply, agricultural resources, and the environment.3 Therefore, there is a pressing need to systematically plan the entire production chain from grain production, distribution, and processing to consumption and to make simultaneous efforts to increase grain output and reduce losses, so as to comprehensively consolidate the foundation of—and to firmly hold the initiative in—food security. These are major practical issues that urgently need to be studied.
粮食安全是“国之大者”，解决好 14 亿多中国人的吃饭问题始终是治国理政的头等大事。新中国成立 70 多年来，始终把发展粮食生产作为农业农村工作的重点，依靠世界 9% 的耕地，生产了近 1/4的粮食，养活了近 1/5 的人口，成功依靠自身力量实现了粮食基本自给，走出一条中国特色粮食安全之路。进入新发展阶段，开启全面建设社会主义现代化国家新征程，立足中华民族伟大复兴战略全局和世界百年未有之大变局，确保国家粮食安全是实施乡村振兴战略和建设农业强国的首要任务，是中国式现代化进程中稳经济、稳社会、稳全局的根本保障。但不容忽视的现实是，一方面受国内农业资源环境约束趋紧、地方抓粮和生产者种粮积极性弱化等多重影响，粮食稳产增产面临严峻挑战； 另一方面粮食产后损失和食物浪费十分普遍，且数量巨大，加剧了粮食生产供给和农业资源环境的压力。因此，迫切需要从粮食生产、流通、加工到消费全产业链系统谋划，在粮食增产和减损两端同时发力，全方位夯实粮食安全根基，牢牢掌控粮食安全主动权，这是当前亟需研究的重大现实问题。
The development of grain production is fundamental to the country’s food security and has always attracted the attention of all sectors of society. As the 1996 white paper The Grain Issue in China has explicitly stated, “The basic principle for solving the problem of grain supply and demand in China is to rely on domestic resources and basically achieve self-sufficiency in grain. China endeavors to increase its grain production so that its self-sufficiency rate of grain under normal conditions will be above 95 percent.”4 Over the past few decades, China has systematically fostered the development of domestic grain production by protecting arable land resources, increasing agricultural input, stepping up the construction of irrigation projects, and upgrading equipment. Scholars have made extensive and in-depth studies on issues related to China’s grain production, especially farmland protection and nongrain use of farmland,5,6 the construction of high-standard farmland and agricultural infrastructure,7,8 labor migration and agricultural mechanization,9,10 the development of new types of business entities, 11 rural land transfer 12,13 and commercial services for agriculture,14,15 and how minimum purchase prices for grain and agricultural subsidy policies and reforms16,17 have affected the planting areas or yields of grain crops. On the basis of their research, they have offered policy suggestions for improving factors of production and optimizing allocation, for improving the conditions of grain production and strengthening the foundation of production capacity, and for improving the support and protection system.
发展粮食生产是保障国家粮食安全的基础，始终是社会各界关注的焦点。1996 年《中国的粮食问题》明确提出，“立足国内资源，实现粮食基本自给，是中国解决粮食供需问题的基本方针。中国将努力促进国内粮食增产，在正常情况下，粮食自给率不低于 95%”。过去几十年，我国从保护耕地资源、增加农业投入、加强水利建设、提高物质装备水平等方面系统促进国内粮食生产发展。学术界对我国粮食生产问题进行广泛而深入的研究探讨，主要集中在耕地保护和非粮化配置、高标准农田和农 业基础设施建设、劳动力转移与农业机械化、新型经营主体发展、农地流转与农业社会化服务、粮食最低收购价和农业补贴政策及其改革等对粮食种植面积或产量的影响，进而从促进要素升级和配置结构优化、改善粮食生产条件和夯实产能基础、完善支持保护制度等维度提出有关政策建议。
Saving food and reducing losses and waste are effective means both to alleviate the pressure on agricultural resources and the environment and to help balance food supply and demand. A time-honored tradition, saving food has been practiced for thousands of years. In the 1990s, the Chinese government already pointed out that cutting down on grain losses has the potential to help China achieve basic self-sufficiency in grain through its own efforts: “If losses at all stages are reduced to within a reasonable range, it will be possible to save at least 20 million tons of grain every year.”4 Although concrete measures were taken to reduce grain losses, in reality, postharvest grain loss and food waste remain severe. In particular, with incomes having increased significantly, the problem of food waste has become particularly prominent. Excessive losses and waste have strained the balance between China’s food supply and demand along with its agricultural resources and the environment. Since the 18th Party Congress, saving food and reducing the large amount of waste in food production, distribution, processing, and consumption has been given high priority. The Anti–Food Waste Law and the Anti–Food Waste Work Plan were promulgated in 2021, providing basic guidelines for making further progress in conserving food, reducing losses, and curbing restaurant food waste. For three years from 2021 to 2023, the No. 1 central documents explicitly stated that it is necessary to wage a thorough campaign to save food and systematically reduce grain losses throughout production, distribution, processing, storage, and consumption. Although scholars have long paid attention to such issues, it is only in the past 5 to 10 years that we have begun to see systematic studies, which estimate losses and waste both at specific stages—food production,18 storage,19 distribution,20 consumption21,22—and across the whole production chain23 before formulating systems and strategies for tackling them.
节约粮食、减少损耗和浪费，是兼顾减轻农业资源环境压力和保障粮食供需基本平衡的有效途径。节约粮食的思想由来已久，也是传承千年的优良传统。20 世纪 90 年代中国政府即指出，中国依靠自身力量实现粮食基本自给在节约粮食方面有潜力，“如果将各环节的损失降至合理范围，每年至少可节约粮食 2 000 万t”，并部署减少粮食损失的具体举措。但在现实中，粮食产后损耗和食物浪费形势却异常严峻，特别是收入大幅增长后食物浪费问题尤为突出，过多的损耗浪费对国内粮食供需平衡和农业资源环境等带来巨大压力。党的十八大以来，把高度重视节约粮食，注重解决粮食生产、流通、加工和消费过程中的大量浪费问题摆到突出重要位置。2021 年《反食品浪费法》和《反食品浪费工作方案》出台，为进一步推进粮食节约减损、遏制餐饮食品浪费等提供了基本遵循 ；2021—2023 年连续三年中央一号文件都明确提出要深入开展粮食节约行动，系统推进生产、流通、加工、存储和消费全链条节粮减损。学术界虽然长期关注，但直至最近 5~10 年方才兴起对粮食节约减损问题的系统研究，如估算粮食生产、储存、流通、消费等具体环节以及全产业链的损耗或浪费，并提出制度设计和治理策略。
The 2022 Central Rural Work Conference noted that “to ensure food security, efforts must be made to both increase production and reduce losses,”24 thus treating both aspects as equally important to safeguarding food security, informed by a holistic view of the grain production chain and supply chain. This represents a major move and an effective way to ensure China’s food security at the new stage of development. Adhering to the call for simultaneous efforts at increasing production and reducing losses, therefore, this article systemically analyzes the realities and challenges facing efforts on these two fronts in grain production and consumption, looking at issues such as agricultural resources and environment, local governments’ motivation to focus on grain production and producers’ motivation to grow grain, losses in the grain production and supply chains, and food waste. It then offers targeted policy recommendations for combined efforts both to maintain and increase grain production and to save food and curb losses, to support policymaking on building a more advanced, efficient, and sustainable system for ensuring China’s food security and on improving the coordinated governance of food security in the whole production chain.
2022 年中央农村工作会议明确提出，“保障粮食安全，要在增产和减损两端同时发力”。这是从粮食产业链和供应链整体出发，把国内粮食稳产增产、粮食节约减损置于保障国家粮食安全的同等重要位置，是新发展阶段保障国家粮食安全的重大举措和有效途径。基于此，本文紧扣“保障粮食安全要在增产和减损两端同时发力”这一要求，对粮食生产端保障国内粮食稳产增产、粮食消费端推进粮食节约减损的当下现实情境和主要挑战进行系统分析，如农业资源环境、地方抓粮和生产者种粮积极性、粮食产业链供应链损耗、食物浪费等问题， 进一步针对性提出协同推进粮食稳产增产和节约减损的政策建议，以期为构建更高层次、更高质量、更有效率、更可持续的国家粮食安全保障体系和完善粮食安全全产业链协同治理等提供决策参考。
1 Maintaining and increasing China’s grain production in the new stage of development: Realities and challenges
Comprehensive building of production capacity, scientific and technological progress, and institutional reforms have provided an inexhaustible driving force for China’s grain production. China’s grain output rapidly jumped from 113 million tons in 1949 to 305 million tons in 1978 and to 687 million tons in 2022, and it has held steady at more than 650 million tons for eight consecutive years (Figure 1), which has laid a solid foundation for China’s economic development, social stability, and national security. In the new stage of development—and in the face of the complex and ever-changing domestic and international environments amid changes unseen in a century—maintaining and increasing domestic grain production is fundamental to securing China’s rice bowl and safeguarding food security. China is currently facing, and will continue to face, more and more difficulties in maintaining and increasing grain output, with increasingly severe challenges mainly found in the following areas.
综合生产能力建设、科技进步、制度变革等为中国粮食生产提供了不竭动力，中国粮食产量由 1949 年 1.13 亿t、1978 年 3.05 亿t，快速跨越到2022 年 6.87 亿 t，已连续 8 年稳定在 6.5 亿 t 以上（图 1），为中国经济发展、社会稳定和国家安全奠定了坚实基础。但是，面对新发展阶段和百年大变局复杂多变的国内国际环境，保持国内粮食稳产增产是端牢中国饭碗、守牢粮食安全底线的根本。当前和今后一个时期，我国粮食稳产增产面对的困难越来越多，挑战越来越严峻，主要体现有几个方面。
1.1 Tightening resource and environmental constraints on agriculture
1. 1 农业资源环境约束趋紧
The scarcity of farmland resources is steadily increasing, with a decline both in the quantity and in the quality of arable land. Industrialization and urbanization have encroached on arable land, and afforestation efforts and the development of ecological civilization have led to the conversion of farmland into forests, grassland, and wetland, with illegal uses further adding to the continuous decrease in the amount of arable land. According to data from the second and third national land surveys, China’s total arable land fell from 135 million hm2 (2.031 billion mu) in 2009 to 128 million hm2 (1.918 billion mu) in 2019—down by 7.52 million hm2 (113 million mu) in 10 years—and per capita arable land dropped from 0.101 hm2 (1.52 mu) to 0.091 hm2 (1.36 mu). This trend will remain difficult to reverse for a long time to come. Currently, repeated efforts have failed to stop the illegal use of arable land on the pretexts of building a beautiful and harmonious countryside that is livable and business-friendly, ecological conservation and improvement in the rural living conditions, structural adjustment in agriculture, and the integrated development of primary, secondary, and tertiary industries. Some local governments have not fully implemented the policy of compensating for farmland diverted to other uses, with issues such as more diversion than compensation and inadequate compensation.
耕地资源的稀缺性与日俱增，面临数量减少、质量下降的双重风险。就耕地数量而言，工业化、城镇化对耕地的占用，国土绿化和生态文明建设、退耕还林还草还湿，以及各类违法违规占用等，导致耕地数量持续减少。第二次全国土地调查和第三次全国国土调查数据显示，我国耕地面积已经由2009 年的 1.35 亿 hm2（20.31 亿亩）下降到 2019 年的 1.28 亿 hm2（19.18 亿亩），10 年间减少了 752 万 hm2（1.13 亿亩）；人均耕地由 0.101 hm2（1.52 亩） 减少至 0.091 hm2（1.36 亩），且这种趋势在相当长时期仍难以扭转。当前各地以宜居宜业和美乡村建设、生态治理与人居环境整治、农业结构调整和三次产业融合发展等名义违规占用耕地的现象仍屡禁不止，部分地区在执行耕地占补平衡政策有偏差， 一定程度上存在占多补少、补充数量不到位问题。
Figure 1 China’s increasing grain output and yield
图 1 中国粮食产量及单产增长
1. The overall quality of China’s cultivated land is not high as it comprises mostly medium- and low-yield fields. According to the 2019 Report on the National Arable Land Quality Grade Situation, the average grade of China’s arable land is 4.76 (equivalent to medium quality); over two-thirds of the country’s arable land is medium and low-yield fields, and 22 percent consists of land of grades 7 to 10, which has relatively poor basic soil fertility and faces pronounced obstacles to production. As data from the third national land survey show, rain-irrigated land accounts for 50.3 percent of China’s arable land, while paddy land accounts for only 24.6 percent; land with a slope of more than 6 degrees makes up 22.8 percent, and 9.4 percent has a slope of more than 15 degrees; land in annual single-cropping areas constitutes 47.9 percent. The quality, structure, and regional distribution of arable land are therefore not conducive to maintaining and increasing domestic grain production.
1. 全国耕地整体质量不高，以中低产田为主。根据《2019 年全国耕地质量等级情况公报》，全国耕地平均等级为 76 等（相当于中等地），中低产田占到耕地面积的 2/3 以上，其中基础地力相对较差、生产障碍因素突出的 7 至 10 等的耕地占比为22%。第三次全国国土调查数据显示，旱地占到耕地面积的 50.3%，水田只占 24.6% ；位于 6 度以上的坡耕地占到 22.8%，其中 15 度以上的坡耕地占9.4% ；位于一年一熟制地区的耕地占到 47.9%，即意味着耕地质量、结构和区域布局并不利于保障国内粮食的稳产增产。
2. The desertification, acidification, salinization, and degradation of arable land have worsened. Farmland acidification in the south, salinization in the north, and the degradation of black soil in the northeast are becoming prominent problems, involving an area of 44 million hm2 (about 660 million mu), or over a third of China’s arable land.2 Lying in the heart of the black soil regions in the northeast, Heilongjiang and Jilin, despite growing only one crop a year, respectively accounted for 11.5 percent and 5.9 percent of China’s grain output with 12.4 percent and 4.9 percent of its grain-sown area in 2021, making a huge contribution to China’s food security. However, the black soil there has also been seriously degraded. The White Paper on the Protection of Black Soil in Northeast China (2020) points out that the black soil layer in the black soil regions has thinned by 30 to 50 percent, measuring less than 20 cm thick in some areas. Due to overcultivation and soil erosion, moreover, it continues to decrease by 1 to 2 mm per year.
2. 耕地沙化荒漠化、酸化盐碱化加剧，耕地退化愈发严重。南方耕地酸化、北方耕地盐碱化、东北黑土地退化问题日益突出，涉及面积44 亿hm2（约 6.6 亿亩），超过全国耕地面积的 1/3。作为东北黑土核心区，尽管一年一熟制，2021 年黑龙江、吉林仍以全国 12.4% 和 4.9% 的粮食播种面积，贡献了全国 11.5% 和 5.9% 的粮食产量，为确保国家粮食安全做出巨大贡献，但同时也带来黑土地退化严重等问题。《东北黑土地保护白皮书（2020）》指出，目前东北黑土地土壤的黑土层厚度已经减少了 30%~50%，一些地区土壤黑土层不足 20 cm，且因不合理开垦利用和水土流失等仍以每年 1~2 mm 的速度减少。
3. Soil erosion, excessive application of chemical inputs, and continuous high-intensity use of arable land have led to a steady decline in its quality. Erosion is particularly serious in the Loess Plateau, rocky desertification regions in the southwest, and black soil regions in the northeast, especially on arable land with a slope of over 6 degrees. The average fertilizer use intensity for China’s three major food crops (rice, wheat, and corn) in 2020 was 382 kg/hm2, higher than international safety standards. According to calculations by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, China’s fertilizer use efficiency and pesticide use efficiency increased to 40.2 percent and 40.6 percent respectively in 2020, but residue rates remained high. The use of agricultural plastics has continued to rise, but the recovery rate is low, with an increasing amount of plastic residues in soil. Nonpoint source pollution, moreover, has caused soil compaction, decline in organic matter, deterioration of physical and chemical properties, and contamination of the water environment. In addition, long-term high-intensity overuse of arable land for agricultural—especially food—production has had a negative impact on the preservation of soil fertility, sustainability, and efforts to maintain and increase grain output.
3. 水土流失、化学投入品过量施用、耕地连续高强度利用等导致耕地质量持续下降。黄土高原、西南石漠化区、东北黑土区是水土流失的重点区域，这些区域 6 度以上的坡耕地水土流失尤为突出。2020 年全国三种主要粮食作物（稻谷、小麦和玉米）的平均化肥施用强度为 382 kg/hm2，高于国际安全施用标准 ；根据农业农村部测算，2020 年我国化肥和农药的利用率分别提高到 40.2% 和 40.6%，但残 留率依旧较高；农膜使用量持续增加，回收率偏低、土壤残留量不断增加 ；面源污染造成土壤板结、有机质下降、理化性状变差、水环境被污染。此外， 长期高强度、超负荷利用耕地进行农业或粮食生产， 对耕地地力保护和永续利用、粮食稳产增产等造成负面影响。
4. In compensating for arable land diverted to other uses, there are still cases in which superior land is replaced with inferior land and paddy land with rain-irrigated land, and regulation has become more difficult. From 2009 to 2019, China’s construction land increased by approximately 8.5 million hm2 (128 million mu). Farmland diverted to nonagricultural development must be compensated for. When the Ministry of Natural Resources randomly selected 6,203 compensatory farmland projects across the country for on-site inspection in 2018, however, it found that 10 percent of them had problems such as false representation, insufficient quantity, or inadequate quality. In some regions, furthermore, the compensatory lands were remotely located, difficult to cultivate, or built to low standards, with poor production conditions, insufficiently improved soil, or a lack of ongoing maintenance.
4. 耕地占补平衡时，占优补劣、占水田补旱地、以次充好现象依旧存在，且监管难度加大。2019 年我国建设用地较 2009 年增加约 850 万 hm2（28 亿亩），其中对非农建设占用耕地的，需要落实占补平衡政策，但自然资源部 2018 年在全国随机抽取6 203 个补充耕地项目进行实地核查，发现建设不真实、数量不足、质量不够的项目占到抽查项目的10%，部分地区补充耕地存在位置偏远、生产条件差、耕种难度大，工程建设标准低、地力培肥不到位、缺乏后期管护等问题。
At the same time, many regions have proceeded with agricultural supply-side reforms and structural adjustments to better meet the needs for a better life and to promote high-quality agricultural development, which has led to a growing tendency to divert arable land to nongrain or nonagricultural use in some regions. In the eastern region, a large amount of industrial and commercial capital has flowed into the agricultural sector to develop modern agricultural industries through the transfer of farmland use rights, establishment of production centers, and cooperation in production and marketing with cooperatives or family farms. This has promoted the industrialization of agriculture and the integrated development of primary, secondary, and tertiary industries in rural areas, satisfying people’s needs for a better life, but it has also contributed to a tendency toward nongrain use. For example, the proportion of grain-sown area to total sown area dropped from 55.8 percent in 2015 to 50.0 percent in 2021 in Zhejiang and from 52.4 percent to 49.2 percent in Guangdong. The southwest region has also seen a relatively clear tendency toward nongrain use as great efforts have been made in recent years to develop high-efficiency specialty agriculture such as the cultivation of tea, herbs for traditional Chinese medicine, fruits, and flowers in a bid to eliminate rural poverty and consolidate the progress in poverty alleviation. Grain-sown area as a percentage of total cropland in Guizhou steadily dropped from 62.2 percent in 2010 to 51.4 percent in 2021, a decrease of 10.8 percent; Yunnan saw a fall from 66.4 percent to 59.4 percent, while in Guangxi and Chongqing the proportions dropped from 51.9 percent and 66.8 percent to 45.7 percent and 59.1 percent respectively (Table 1).
与此同时，为更好满足美好生活需要和促进农业高质量发展，各地推进农业供给侧改革和结构调整，耕地非粮化非农化倾向在局部地区加剧。在东部地区，大量工商资本进入农业领域，通过流转耕地经营、建立生产基地、与合作社或家庭农场产销合作等方式发展现代农业产业，推动了农业产业化经营和乡村三次产业融合发展，满足了人民美好生活需要，但在一定程度上出现非粮化倾向。如浙江粮食播种面积占农作物播种面积的比重由 2015 年55.8% 降至 50.0%，广东由 52.4% 降至 49.2%。在西南地区，近年围绕农村脱贫攻坚和巩固脱贫成果， 大力发展茶叶、中药、水果、花卉等特色高效农业， 非粮化倾向也较为明显。贵州粮食种植比重由 2010年62.2% 持续降至 2021 年 51.4%，减少 10.8 个百分点，云南由 66.4% 降至 59.4%，广西和重庆分别由51.9% 和 66.8% 降至 45.7% 和 59.1%（表 1）。
The shortage of water resources, mismatch between water and soil resources, and inadequate farmland irrigation facilities pose considerable challenges to China’s ability to protect grain production from the impacts of disasters. China has a scarcity of water resources, and their spatial distribution is extremely uneven. Generally speaking, the south is endowed with relatively abundant water resources but is lacking in soil resources, while the reverse is true in the north, which puts rigid limitations on the production of grain crops that require high levels of both types of resources. Data from the third national land survey show that 65 percent of China’s arable land is located in areas with less than 800 mm of annual precipitation, and that 15.8 percent is located in areas that receive less than 400 mm of annual precipitation. Although 60 percent of China’s arable land lies in the north, only 19 percent of China’s water resources are to be found there. Water shortages impose a serious constraint on agriculture in the North China Plain and Northeast Plain, both key grain-producing regions. Similarly, Inner Mongolia accounts for 9 percent of the country’s total arable land, and its grain-sown area and grain output respectively made up 5.3 percent and 5.6 percent of the national totals in 2021, but it received only 378 mm of average precipitation that year: water shortages and environmental and ecological constraints represent the biggest obstacles to maintaining and increasing grain output there. In Henan and Hebei, both important grain-producing provinces, insufficient water resources necessitated the extraction of a large amount of groundwater to support grain production, and overextraction has resulted in a huge groundwater cone of depression, which poses new challenges to efforts to sustainably maintain and increase grain production in this region.
水资源短缺，水土资源不匹配、农田水利配套不完备等使粮食生产抗灾减灾能力面临巨大挑战。我国水资源严重短缺，且时空分布极不均衡，总体呈现南方水多地少、北方地多水少的水土资源匹配特征，对水地“双高”要求的粮食作物生产是刚性约束。第三次全国国土调查数据显示，全国 65.0% 的耕地位于年降水量 800 mm 以下的地区，其中15.8% 的耕地位于降水量 400 mm 以下的地区 ；北方分布了全国 60% 的耕地，却仅有 19% 的水资源， 华北平原、东北平原是粮食主产区优势区，都面临水资源短缺的严重束缚。内蒙古耕地面积占到全国的 9%，2021 年粮食播种面积和产量分别占全国的5.3% 和 5.6%，当年平均降水量仅有 378 mm，水资源短缺和环境生态约束是其实现粮食稳产增产的最大障碍。河南、河北是重要的粮食主产区，因水资源不足而大量开采地下水发展粮食生产，由此形成巨大的地下水超采漏斗区，对这一区域粮食可持续的稳产增产形成新挑战。
Droughts and floods are the main causes of reduction in China’s grain and agricultural output. Global climate change will further increase the frequency of extreme weather events such as droughts, heavy rains, floods, typhoons, heat waves, and cold waves. Meanwhile, China’s agricultural infrastructure is still weak. There is much focus on the construction of farmland irrigation facilities but not enough on their management, and much more attention is paid to key projects than to supporting facilities in the fields. The construction standards are not high, and there are prominent bottlenecks in the last mile. Frequent natural disasters have become a major risk and practical challenge that we must grapple with in grain production.
Table 1 Proportion of grain-sown area to total sown area in China (%)
表 1 全国粮食作物播种面积占农作物播种面积的比重（%）
1.2 Increasing difficulty in achieving new breakthroughs in agricultural science and technology
Agricultural science and technology have played an indispensable role in the sustained stability and growth of China’s grain output. Data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs show that the contribution rate of technology to China’s agricultural development steadily increased from 52 percent in 2010 to 61 percent in 2021. In particular, the coverage rate of improved seed varieties has remained above 95 percent, and the rate of mechanization of crop planting and harvesting has reached 72 percent. It is increasingly difficult, however, to further improve the quality and per unit yield of improved varieties and the mechanization rate.
我国粮食连续稳产增产离不开农业科技的贡献。农业农村部数据显示，我国农业科技贡献率已由 2010 年 52% 持续提高到 2021 年 61%，其中良种普及率保持 95% 以上，农作物耕种收综合机械化率达 72%。但进一步提升良种单产和品质、耕种收综合机械化率等难度越来越大。
Breakthroughs in cereal breeding and the popularization of high-quality improved varieties have driven a significant increase in grain yields in China. The average yield of rice increased from 3.98 t/hm2 in 1978 to 6.27 t/hm2 in 2000 and then to 7.08 t/hm2 in 2022; wheat saw an increase from 1.85 t/hm2 in 1978 to 3.74 t/hm2 in 2000 and then to 6.44 t/hm2 in 2022, and corn from 2.80 t/hm2 to 4.60 t/hm2 and then to 6.44 t/hm2. Since 2010, however, the rate of increase has noticeably slowed down (Figure 1). China’s research in wheat and rice breeding is generally world leading,25 and its average wheat and rice yields per unit area rank among the top globally—respectively 65 percent and 54 percent higher than the 2020 global averages. Although they are still some distance from the world’s highest yield of about 10 t/hm2, the double-cropping yield (i.e., the sum of early season rice and late season rice yields) from China’s high-yielding hybrid rice trials has reached 24 t/hm2, and any further improvement will probably require major technological breakthroughs. China’s average corn yield is only 12 percent higher than the global average and still trailing far behind those of the United States and Canada. In 2019 and 2020, for example, the average yield of corn in the United States exceeded 10 t/hm2, while yields in Canada and Argentina topped 9.2 t/hm2 and 7.5 t/hm2 respectively, which suggests significant room for improvement for China’s corn yield. However, in China, it is primarily the state that invests in innovation in breeding technology, with universities and research institutes playing a leading role in research and development, in which investment and participation by the private sector are sorely lacking. It is difficult to effectively pay equal attention to attributes such as high yield and high quality, multiple resistances and wide adaptability, and suitability for special or particular uses. Innovations that represent major breakthroughs are rare, and innovations in the seed industry are still not fully aligned with the diverse needs in production or with crop management techniques, with an urgent need to improve the commercialization of cultivars already developed and to promote commercial crop breeding. There is unfair competition between public R&D institutions and private breeding companies, inadequate protection of intellectual property rights in the seed industry, and a market inured to substandard and counterfeit seeds,25 all of which have discouraged breeding companies from R&D and growers from using their products.
粮食育种技术创新突破、优质良种普及推动了我国粮食单产大幅提升，其中稻谷平均单产由 1978年 3.98 t/hm2、2000 年 6.27 t/hm2 提升到 2022 年 7.08t/hm2，小麦和玉米分别由 1978 年 1.85 和 2.80 t/hm2，2000 年 3.74 和 4.60 t/hm2 提升到 2022 年 5.86 和 6.44t/hm2。但 2010 年以来三种主粮单产的提升速度明显放缓（图 1）。我国小麦和水稻的育种技术研究总体上已经处于国际领先水平，二者平均单产已位居全球前列，分别高出 2020 年世界平均单产的65% 和 54%，对标全球最高单产约 10 t/hm2 虽有差距，但国内杂交水稻高产攻关试验双季产量（即早稻和晚稻产量之和）达 24 t/hm2，若再要进一步提升可能需要重大技术攻关和技术突破。我国玉米平均单产仅高出全球平均水平的 12%，离美国、加拿大仍有较大差距，如 2019 年和 2020 年美国平均单产都超过 10 t/hm2，加拿大、阿根廷分别在 9.2 t/hm2 和 7.5 t/hm2 以上，表明玉米单产仍有较大提升潜力。但国内育种技术创新主要由国家投入、高校和科研机构主导研发，企业投入和参与严重不足，高产优质、多抗广适、专用特用等难以有效兼顾，重大突破的创新产品难出现，种业创新与生产多元需求、与管理技术配套等还有鸿沟，所育种子商品化和商业化育种亟待提升。公共研发机构与育种企业不公平竞争，种业知识产权保护不完善，种业市场鱼龙混杂，以次充好、套牌种子频繁出现，一定程度 上挫伤育种企业研发和生产者使用的积极性。
Agricultural mechanization plays an important role in reducing costs, increasing efficiency, and scaling up operations. The total power of agricultural machinery nationwide reached 1.08 billion kW in 2021. The number of tractors and supporting implements continues to grow, and there is extensive use of smart agricultural machinery equipped with technologies such as 5G and 3S. Overall, however, there are still problems such as weak innovation capacity in agricultural machinery, low R&D commercialization rate, and a structure in need of optimization. Moreover, both overcapacity and gaps in offerings exist side by side, agricultural machinery is not well integrated with actual agronomic practices, and the construction of infrastructure for the operation of machinery has failed to keep pace. There is, for example, a lack of machinery suitable for operating in hilly and mountainous areas making farming difficult. In 2021, the mechanization rates of the planting and harvesting of wheat, corn, and rice in China reached 97 percent, 90 percent, and 86 percent respectively, but the rates were uneven across different regions and varied greatly from one stage to another. There remain clear weaknesses in grain production in the vast hilly and mountainous areas. Further progress depends on the development and commercialization of agricultural machinery suited to local realities and on efforts and investment in making farmland more suitable for mechanized farming.
农业机械化在粮食节本增效、推动规模化经营等方面发挥重要作用，2021 年全国农业机械总动力达 10.8 亿 kW，拖拉机及配套农具数量持续增长，加载 5G、3S 等技术的智能农机装备广泛应用。但总体仍存在农机创新能力不强、研发转化率不高， 结构有待优化、产能过剩和断档缺门并存，农机农艺融合不够紧密、农机作业基础设施建设滞后等问题，如适用丘陵山区的农机装备不足、下地难和作业难。2021 年我国小麦、玉米和稻谷的耕种收综合机械化分别达到 97%、90% 和 86%，但区域不平衡、各环节差异大，广大丘陵山区粮食生产短板依旧突出，进一步提升面临适用性农机研发转化、农田宜机化改造与投资等难题。
1.3 Waning motivation of local governments to focus on grain production and of producers to grow grain
Major agricultural and grain-producing provinces also tend to be economically weak and financially struggling. Heilongjiang, the province with the highest grain output, produced 11.5 percent of China’s grain in 2021 but accounted for only 1.3 percent of the country’s GDP, and its per capita GDP—standing at 47,266 yuan—equated to merely 58.4 percent of the national average. Revenue in the province’s general public budget was 130 billion yuan, constituting only 1.2 percent of the total revenue of local governments, and Heilongjiang residents had a per capita disposable income of 27,159 yuan, equivalent to 77.3 percent of the national average. Similarly, Henan produced 9.6 percent of the country’s grain, but its per capita GDP was only 73.4 percent of the national average. Revenue in its general public budget made up 3.9 percent of the total local government revenue, and residents there had a disposable income equivalent to 76.3 percent of the national average.
农业大省、粮食大省往往也是经济弱省、财政穷省。如产粮第一大省黑龙江，2021 年生产全国11.5% 的粮食，但地区生产总值只占全国的 1.3%，人均地区生产总值 47 266 元，仅相当于全国平均水平的 58.4%，地方一般公共预算收入 1 300 亿元，仅占地方合计的 1.2%，居民可支配收入 27 159 元，相当于全国平均水平的 77.3%。河南产出全国 9.6% 的粮食，人均地区生产总值只相当于全国平均的73.4%，地方一般公共预算收入占地方合计的 3.9%， 居民可支配收入相当于全国平均的 76.3%。
The grain industry is a strategic sector fundamental to national security, but it also faces numerous unfavorable conditions, such as low comparative returns, relatively limited contribution to economic growth and employment, and twofold risks—those in the natural world and those in the market. Therefore, it is necessary for governments at all levels to keep investing in and offering more support for grain production, which places a huge burden on the coffers of economically and financially weak provinces.2 Some grain policies are poorly conceived. For example, local governments are required to provide matching funds for the construction of some projects and for agricultural insurance subsidies, in addition to stepping up special audits and performance appraisals. As a result, the more local governments pay attention to grain and try to build up grain production capacity, the heavier the burdens they have to carry, which has greatly diminished local governments’ motivation to focus on grain. This has become a serious risk and challenge for maintaining and increasing output in major grain-producing regions.
As the cost of grain production in China has continued to rise while grain prices have largely stood still, the returns from grain production are steadily declining, even to the point where producing grain no longer has a comparative advantage, which dampens producers’ motivation to grow grain crops. According to the Compilation of National Data on the Costs and Returns of Agricultural Products, the average net profit from rice, wheat, and corn farming had been negative for four consecutive years from 2016 to 2019 before rising to a mere 707 yuan/hm2 in 2020, with the average cash income varying from 7,200 to 9,300 yuan/hm2 (Table 2). On the other hand, over the same period, the average cash income from two oilseed crops (peanuts and rapeseed) ranged from 10,000 to 14,000 yuan/hm2, and the cash income from beets hovered around 15,000 yuan/hm2; vegetables and apples were even more profitable. To a certain extent, this has encouraged producers to switch to cash crops. In particular, with an influx of new types of business entities, the promotion of large-scale operations, and the development of high-efficiency specialty agriculture, the trend toward nongrain use of arable land has become increasingly prominent in some regions.
在国内粮食生产成本攀升、销售价格未有明显提高等情境下，粮食生产效益不断下滑，甚至已经不具备比较优势，生产者种粮积极性持续下降。《全国农产品成本收益资料汇编》数据显示，2016— 2019 年三种粮食平均生产净利润已连续4 年为负值，2020 年转为正值也仅 707 元 /hm2，现金收益约在7 200~9 300 元 /hm2（表 2）。而同期两种油料（花生和油菜）现金收益约在 10 000~14 000 元 /hm2， 甜菜现金收益在 15 000 元 /hm2 左右，蔬菜、苹果等比较效益更高，一定程度推动生产者改种经济作物。特别是大量新型经营主体进入、规模化经营推进、特色高效农业发展，种植结构非粮化在局部地区日益凸显。
Future challenges lie in three areas. First, it is difficult to reverse the upward trend in land costs, land transfer prices, and the costs of agricultural labor and farming equipment and materials, which will continue to drive the rising costs of grain production. Second, it is difficult to ensure profits for grain growers by continuously or significantly increasing grain prices. Actual experience from 2012 to 2016 shows a closer connection between international and domestic grain prices in an economy opening up. If China’s minimum grain purchase prices are set too high, a cycle of increased domestic output, increased purchase and storage, increased stocks, and increased imports will ensue, which will plunge the grain processing and food manufacturing industries into trouble and may generate negative externalities and uncertainties. Third, measures to support grain production lack specificity and effectiveness and face the constraints of WTO rules. The scope for China to provide amber box agricultural support is restricted by the de minimis limit; that is, product-specific amber box support cannot exceed 8.5 percent of a given product’s value of production, and non-product-specific support cannot exceed 8.5 percent of the total agricultural value of production. In 2019, the WTO ruled that China’s amber box subsidies for rice and wheat violated the commitments it made when it joined the organization, which has spurred the reform of the minimum grain purchase price policy. Overall, however, this policy is still at high risk of breaking WTO rules and is liable to challenges by WTO members. The nonexempt amber box subsidies are relatively low and provide limited impetus to grain production, while financial constraints prevent a substantial expansion of the scope of green box subsidies. A transition from amber box to green box subsidies entails issues such as a decline in the specificity and effectiveness of policies.
今后的挑战将在于，第一，土地成本显现化和流转价格提高、农业劳动成本和物化资料成本等上涨的趋势难以扭转，将推动粮食生产总成本的持续攀升。第二，通过持续提升或大幅提升粮食价格保障种粮收益难度较大。2012—2016 年的实践表明， 开放条件下国际国内粮价联动加强，若国内粮食最低收购价过高，将陷入国内增产—收储增加—库存增加—进口增加的循环，使粮食加工、食品制造等产业陷入困境，可能引发负外部性和不确定性。第三，支持粮食生产的政策措施面临针对性和有效性不足、世贸组织规则约束等挑战。我国农业黄箱支持空间有限，上限为微量允许水平（即特定产品黄箱支持不超过该产品产值的 8.5%，非特定产品黄箱支持不超过农业总产值的 8.5%），2019 年世贸组织裁决我国对大米和小麦的黄箱补贴违反了加入世贸组织时所作承诺，这推动了粮食最低收购价政策的改革完善，但总体上该政策仍存在面临违反规则的重大风险，可能引起世贸组织成员的挑战 ；不可免除的黄箱补贴力度偏低，对粮食生产激励效果依旧有限 ；绿箱补贴则面临财力相对有限的约束，难以 大范围进行补贴支持 ；由黄箱补贴转向绿箱补贴， 存在政策针对性有效性下降等问题。
Table 2 Economic returns of major crops (yuan/hm2)
表 2 主要农作物生产效益比较（元 /hm2）
2 Saving food and reducing losses in the new stage of development: Realities and challenges
There is, in China, a staggering amount of postharvest grain loss and food waste—both widespread, strategically important issues that urgently need to be solved as they not only exacerbate the pressure to maintain grain-sown area and grain supply, but also amount to a waste of China’s limited agricultural resources, unproductive carbon emissions, and a strain on the environment to no purpose. Research shows that about 460 million tons of food in a broad sense—or 22.7 percent of the total amount produced—is lost or wasted across China’s entire food supply chain.24 This highlights the necessity, importance, and urgency of conserving food and reducing losses.
我国粮食产后损失和食物浪费十分普遍，且数量巨大，不但增加了粮食保面积保供给的压力，而且浪费国内有限的农业资源，形成了无效的碳排放 和生态环境消耗，这已成为迫切需要解决的重大战 略问题。相关研究显示，就广义食物而言，我国整个食物供应链的损失浪费约 4.6 亿t，占到总生产量的 22.7% ，凸显节约减损的必要性、重要性和紧迫性。
2.1 Losses at pre-consumption stages
Preconsumption losses comprise grain lost at every stage of the production chain such as production, distribution, storage, and processing. Although estimates of grain losses at different stages vary greatly, they all clearly show that the quantity is large at each stage of the grain production and supply chains and that much of the loss can be avoided. According to data from the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, over 35 million tons of grain is lost in storage, transportation, and processing every year in China, with a total loss rate of about 12 percent in the whole grain production chain.
餐前环节损耗包括粮食生产、流通、储存、加工等产业链各环节的损耗。虽然关于不同环节粮食损耗的估算差距较大，但都清晰地表明粮食生产链供应链各环节损耗多，节粮减损空间大。国家粮食与物资储备局数据显示，我国每年储存、运输、加工环节的粮食损失量在 3 500 万t 以上，粮食全产业链总损耗率约为 12%。
Losses at the production stage include grain saved for seeds, natural disaster losses, and harvest losses. According to the cereal supply and demand balance sheet released by China National Grain and Oils Information Center, seed use accounts for consistently small proportions of the total consumption of rice, wheat, and corn, thus representing an insignificant source of waste. Natural disasters such as droughts and floods, occurring increasingly frequently, have hit crops hard in China and caused considerable losses. In 2020 and 2021, for example, 19.96 million hm2 and 11.74 million hm2 of crops, respectively, were affected by natural disasters, with 2.71 million hm2 and 1.63 million hm2—or 13.6 percent and 13.9 percent of the affected areas—yielding less than 20 percent of their usual outputs. The damage was worse in 2020: Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Hubei, Liaoning, Anhui, Yunnan, and Jilin all saw over 1.2 million hm2 of crops affected, and most of these provinces are important grain-producing regions. In 2021, 1.59 million hm2 of crops were affected in Henan and 1.26 million hm2 in Inner Mongolia, both major grain-producing provinces. Assuming that grain accounts for 70 percent of the total sown area and that the average grain yield is 5.8 t/hm2, areas with less than 20 percent of their usual harvests alone lost 11 million tons of grain output in 2020 and 6.62 million tons in 2021, and the numbers will be significantly larger if all affected areas are considered. The loss rate during the harvest is affected by factors such as grain varieties, land conditions, consequences of disasters, harvest timing, machinery and equipment, and operator proficiency. For example, grain lodging resulting from adverse weather conditions, poor threshing, transportation from the field, and grain cleaning all result in losses. Recent research suggests that about 3 percent of grain is lost during the harvest in China.
其中，生产环节有农作物种籽用途损耗、自然灾害损耗和收获损耗。从国家粮油信息中心谷物供需平衡表看，三种粮食种用量占比低且稳定，种用浪费虽然存在但总体有限。受日益频发重发的旱涝等自然灾害影响，我国农作物受灾严重，造成的产量损失较大。以 2020 年和 2021 年统计数据为例，农作物受灾面积分别达到 1 996 万 hm2 和 1 174 万hm2，其中绝收面积 271 万 hm2 和 163 万 hm2，占受灾面积的 13.6% 和 13.9%。其中 2020 年灾情较为严重，黑龙江、内蒙古、湖北、辽宁、安徽、云南、吉林农作物受灾面积都超过 120 万 hm2，且大部分为粮食主产区，2021 年产粮大省河南农作物受灾 159 万 hm2、内蒙古受灾 126 万 hm2。按粮食播种面积占农作物播种面积的 70%、粮食平均单产 5.8 t/hm2 估算，2020 年和 2021 年仅绝收面积即造成1 100 万t 和 662 万t 的粮食产量损失。如果考虑对整个受灾面积的影响，产量损失将会大幅度提升。收获环节也会因为粮食品种、地块情况、受灾情况、收获时机、机械设备、机手熟练程度等因素影响收获损失率，如因粮食受灾倒伏、精细化脱粒差、田间运输和清粮等造成的现实损耗，近年的研究表明我国粮食收获损失率约在 3% 左右。
At the storage stage, the loss rate varies according to storage providers, storage facilities, and storage methods. Losses may be caused by, for instance, evaporation of water, pests and rodents, and mold and rot. The storage loss rate at state-owned grain enterprises is about 1 percent, and at China Grain Reserves Corporation (Sinograin) and its directly affiliated warehouses, it is as low as 0.1 to 0.5 percent. Private companies, with poorer storage conditions, have a loss rate of over 5 percent, while 8 to 10 percent of the grain stored by farmers themselves is lost.26 According to data from the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, China produced 683 million tons of grain in 2021, of which enterprises with a direct statistical reporting obligation [i.e., those above a designated size] purchased about 400 million tons. Small and medium-sized enterprises and farmers, then, stored the remaining roughly 283 million tons, and their storage losses would be 14.15 million tons at a 5 percent rate and 22.64 million tons at an 8 percent rate. Meanwhile, those 400 million tons purchased by enterprises above a designated size would—assuming the average loss rate was 0.5 percent—shrink by 2 million tons. Importantly, as grain stocks increase and as stored grain spoils, a considerable proportion of grain becomes animal feed or leaves the food chain after having been stocked for a long time and declined in quality. Destocking corn by turning it into ethanol fuel, for example, is also a disguised form of waste and loss of resources.
粮食储存环节因储存主体、储存设施、储存方式等差异而损失率有所不同，如水分蒸发、虫鼠害、霉变腐烂等。已有数据显示，国有粮食企业储存损耗在 1% 左右，其中中国储备粮管理总公司及其直属库储存损耗只有 0.1%~0.5%，私营企业仓储条件较差，储存损耗在 5% 以上，农户储粮损耗在8%~10%。据国家粮食物资与储备局数据，2021 年全国粮食产量 6.83 亿t，入统企业粮食收购量约4 亿t，即意味着约 2.83 亿t 由中小企业或农户储存，若中小企业或农户储存按 5% 损耗率估计损耗约 1 415 万t，按 8% 损耗率估计达 2 264 万t ；入统企业收购量 4 亿t，按 0.5% 平均损耗率估计有 200 万t 损耗。不应忽视的是，因库存量增加、储粮陈化，仍有相当比例的粮食因储存时间较长、质量下降等进入饲用或脱离食物链，如为了玉米“去库存”，用玉米发展燃料乙醇，这也是一种变相的浪费和资源损耗。
Losses at the distribution stage may arise from screening, negligence, spillage, barge transshipment, mechanical damage, sample taking, and mold and spoilage during the sealed transportation of high-moisture grain for long periods. It has been estimated that 480 million tons of commodity grain enter the transportation stage in China every year, of which 530,000 tons are lost by grain merchants and processors, and about 550,000 tons are lost in road, rail, and waterway transportation; that is, losses at the distribution stage (excluding changes in the amount of impurities before transportation) total 1.08 million tons, significantly lower than rough estimates made without defining transportation losses.
粮食流通环节的损耗包括因过筛、遗漏、抛撒、过驳、机械碾压、扦样消耗等造成损耗，以及高水分粮食长时间封闭运输可能引起变质乃至霉变的损耗。据估计，我国每年进入运输环节的商品粮约 4.8 亿t，其中贸易商和加工商的粮食碎粒损耗 53 万t， 公路、铁路和水路运输损耗约 55 万t，即流通环节损耗（不包含运输起始时杂质变化）合计 108 万t， 比未作运输损耗界定的粗略估计大幅降低。
The overprocessing of grain is also an important cause of loss and waste. As living standards improve, consumers increasingly prefer refined staple foods such as polished rice and white flour, and the overprocessing of grain has come to be a prominent trend in response to this demand. In the Chinese market, over 90 percent of the rice is polished rice and more than 70 percent of the flour is fine flour, with the market shares of highly refined products such as wheat core flour and snow white flour on the rise. The milling yields of moderately milled japonica and indica rice in China are about 70 percent and 68 percent respectively, which drop to about 65 percent and 63 percent after further milling and polishing. The flour yield of moderately milled wheat is about 75 percent, while after refining it falls to only about 70 percent—a loss of 5 percent. Over 6.5 million tons of grain is lost every year at the processing stage alone.27
粮食过度加工也是造成粮食损耗浪费的重要原因。伴随生活水平提升，消费者更加偏好精米白面、主食精细化，为了迎合市场需求，粮食过度加工愈加突显。我国市场供应的精米占比 90% 以上，细面超过 70%，加工进度更好的麦芯粉、雪花粉等市场份额持续扩大。有数据显示，我国粳稻、籼稻适度加工出米率约 70% 和 68%，在经过抛光、打磨等环节，出米率降至 65% 和 63% 左右，小麦适度加工出粉率约 75%，精加工出粉率仅 70% 左右，由适度加工到精细加工的损耗约 5%。其中仅加工环节造成的口粮损失每年在 650 万t 以上。
2.2 Plate waste
There is a staggering amount of plate waste in commercial restaurants, dining halls, and homes. According to the 2018 Report on Food Waste in China’s Urban Restaurants, Chinese cities waste 17 to 18 million tons of food a year (excluding household food waste), equivalent to 3 percent of the country’s total grain output.
餐桌上的浪费尤为惊人。餐桌上的浪费广泛存在于商业餐饮、公共食堂、家庭饮食等领域，根据2018 年发布的《中国城市餐饮食物浪费报告》，我国城市餐饮食物浪费量（不含家庭饮食浪费）一年在 1 700 万 ~1 800 万t，相当于全国 3% 的粮食产量。
1) Commercial restaurants. As income and the standard of living improve, an ever largerever-larger proportion of consumers dine out, and food waste associated with dining out is becoming increasingly serious. Business meals, event banquets, official receptions, and gatherings of friends and family are the main occasions on which food waste occurs. In particular, at banquets held in large mid- to high-end restaurants, people tend to think about their own image and try to impress others when ordering dishes, preferring more to less. During such meals, moreover , large amounts of alcohol and other beverages are consumed, which reduces the amount of food eaten and thus leads to even more waste. A study has shown that about 11.7 percent of the food at China’s urban restaurants is wasted; on average, about 23 g of staple foods is wasted per person per meal, and rice and noodles account for significant proportions of the total waste, at 14 percent28 percent respectively. A special research report by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress notes that more than 40 percent of the food at urban and rural wedding banquets is wasted, and the food waste rates are 30 percent at event banquets such as birth celebrations, 30 to 40 percent at business meals, and about 40 29 at meals with friends. 30
1. 商业餐饮。伴随收入增长和居民生活水平提高，消费者在外就餐比例不断上升，在外就餐食物浪费愈发严重，商务宴请、事件性酒席、公务消费和亲朋聚餐是餐饮浪费的主要场景。特别是在大型中高档餐厅各类宴请聚会，用餐点餐习惯于讲面子、讲排场，宁多勿少，且用餐过程伴随大量饮用酒水，减少对其他食物摄入，使浪费程度更加严重。已有调查显示，我国城市餐饮浪费率约为7% ；主食人均浪费量约每餐每人 23 g，其中米饭和面食浪费量较高，分别占总浪费量的 14% 和 10% 。全国人民代表大会常务委员会的专题调研报告指 出，城乡婚宴酒席浪费 40% 以上，出生宴等“事件性宴聚”浪费 30% 左右，商务宴请浪费 30%~40%， 朋友聚餐浪费 40% 左右 。
1. Dining halls. Food waste in university dining halls is particularly prominent, which is related to the habits, attitudes, ways of thinking, and other characteristics of contemporary university students.31 According to statistics from Hainan Province, 12.86 percent of the total food in university dining halls, or an average of 67 g of food per person per meal, is wasted, with flour products and rice products being the most wasted foods. A study of 29 colleges and universities in 29 provinces (cities, districts) shows that an average of 61 g of food is left over per person per meal—a rate of 12.13 percent.32
2. 公共食堂。大学食堂的食物浪费问题尤为突出，这与当代大学生的行为习惯、态度、认知等因素有关。据海南省统计，高校食堂平均每人每餐食物浪费约 67 g，食物浪费率 86%，其中面制品、米制品浪费量位于前两位。一项对 29 个省（市、区）29 所高校调研显示，人均就餐食物剩余61 g，每人每餐平均食物浪费率为 12.13% 。
2. Food waste results from overpurchasing due to bad planning or to the declining share of income spent on food, from the disposal of improperly stored or expired food, from cooking too much food, and from improper cooking, in all of which family size, family composition, household finances, and demographic characteristics are important factors.33 It is estimated that Chinese households waste 7.63 to 10.86 kg of food per capita every year, and annual household food waste totals 10.56 million to 15.02 million tons.21 Restaurant and household food waste together amount to 27 to 33 million tons a year. In addition, overeating is essentially a kind of invisible waste, which also causes obesity, diseases, and other physical and mental health problems.
3. 家庭餐饮。食物消费支出占比下降或规划不当导致超量采购、不当储存或超期未食用导致丢弃、过量烹煮导致剩余、烹煮方法不当导致剩余浪费，这些与家庭规模、人员构成、家庭经济、人口特征等相关。据估计，中国每年家庭人均食物浪费 63~10.86 kg，全年家庭食物浪费总量 1 056 万~ 1 502 万t。如果将商业餐饮与家庭餐饮累加，每年食物浪费总量将在 2 700~3 300 万t。此外，不合理地过量饮食，本质上也是一种“隐形”浪费，同时带来超重、肥胖、疾病等身心健康问题。
3 Policy recommendations for simultaneous efforts to increase grain production and reduce losses
Food underpins the future of a nation and the well-being of its people, and food security is a prerequisite for national security. Taking into account the current global, national, agricultural, and grain situations and basing ourselves on the overall strategic situation of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and profound changes in the world unseen in a century, it is imperative to lay a robust foundation for—and firmly hold the initiative in—national food security. To this end, we must place equal emphasis on increasing inflows and reducing outflows—that is, making concrete, simultaneous efforts both to maintain and increase grain production and to conserve food and reduce losses.
3.1 Thoroughly implement the strategy of sustainable farmland use and comprehensively strengthen the foundation of grain production capacity
The foundation of grain production lies in arable land, its lifeblood lies in irrigation, the way forward lies in science and technology, and its driving force lies in policies. We must make vigorous efforts in each and every one of these key points. Implementing the strategies of sustainable farmland use and innovative application of agricultural technology is crucial to maintaining and increasing domestic grain output. The most important task is to continue to consolidate the foundation of grain production capacity, build up the capability to safeguard domestic grain supply, and ensure that food can be produced and supplied whenever needed. Arable land is vital to grain production, and it is of fundamental importance to thoroughly carry out the strategy of sustainable farmland use.
First, it is necessary to take tough measures that have teeth to make sure that all local party committees and governments fully carry out their responsibility to protect arable land, the performance of which will be rigorously reviewed and those in charge will be held accountable for a lifetime, so that we can firmly prevent China’s total arable land from falling below the red line of 1.8 billion mu. China has formulated the most stringent policy for protecting arable land, and the key is to implement it without compromise, tackle both symptoms and root causes, and strengthen the deterrent effect of institutional mechanisms and strict law enforcement. At the present stage, it is especially important to strictly prevent illegal use of arable land in the name of rural revitalization and afforestation, to strengthen the regulation of how arable land diverted to other uses is compensated for, and to resolutely prevent cases where more land is diverted than compensated for, where superior land is replaced with inferior land, and where paddy land is replaced with rain-irrigated land, so as to truly ensure no decline or as little decline as possible in the quantity of arable land and no decline—if not an improvement—in its quality.
一是要采取长牙齿的硬措施，全面压实地方党委和政府耕地保护责任，严格考核、终生追责，坚决守住 18 亿亩耕地红线。我国已经制定了最严格 的耕地保护政策，关键是要不打折扣执行好，要标本兼治，增强体制机制和严格执法的刚性约束。现阶段尤其要严防借乡村振兴、国土绿化等名义违法违规占用耕地，加强对耕地占补平衡的监管，坚决防止占多补少、占优补劣、占水田补旱地等现象， 真正做到耕地数量不减少和少减少、质量不下降有提升。
Second, it is necessary to preserve and enhance the fertility of arable land and to use high-standard farmland with high and stable yields and guaranteed harvests even in droughts or floods as a mainstay in efforts to maintain and increase grain output. To this end, we must continue to increase financial support for agriculture, launch a new drive to increase grain production capacity by 50 million tons, and build up comprehensive grain production capacity. We must step up the improvement of medium- and low-yield fields; work tirelessly to construct and upgrade high-standard farmland; make integrated efforts to promote water-efficient irrigation, protect and improve the quality of arable land, and upgrade high-standard farmland; actively transform and upgrade existing high-standard farmland in functional areas for grain production and agricultural belts for national food security; remedy shortcomings in soil improvement and farmland irrigation and drainage; and enhance the ability both to achieve stable and high yields and to maintain yields despite disasters. It is important to combine utilization with preservation, to strengthen the protection and restoration of black soil in the northeast and erosion control of hillside farmland in hilly and mountainous areas, to make comprehensive efforts to restore acidified and salinized farmland, and to carry out soil and water conservation in key regions. We must systematically promote environmentally friendly grain production, reduce the use of chemical inputs, apply fertilizers in a scientific, precise, and green manner, and step up efforts to improve the soil environmental governance. For arable land that has been overused for a long time, it is important to practice crop rotation and fallowing to better ensure sustainable use.
Third, it is necessary to strengthen control over the use of arable land and clarify what it can be used for and the order of priority. We must strictly control the conversion of arable land into forest land, garden land, and other types of agricultural land. We must strictly enforce the rules that restrict the use of high-standard farmland to, in principle, grain production only and the use of permanent basic farmland primarily for grain production. We must strengthen monitoring and regulation to resolutely stop nonagricultural use of arable land and effectively discourage nongrain use. In overall planning, we must reconcile the competition for land between the development of high-efficiency specialty agriculture and grain production.
Fourth, it is necessary to step up the construction of farmland irrigation projects and supporting facilities to reduce the mismatch between water resources and arable land. We must construct and modernize major water projects, large and medium irrigation districts, water diversion, collection, and storage projects, and field irrigation projects to a high standard and in a manner that takes into account local conditions, so as to gradually form a farmland drainage and irrigation system that pays simultaneous attention to large, medium, small, and micro components and that coordinates construction, management and use, thus eliminating the bottlenecks in the last mile and ensuring efficient irrigation during droughts and drainage during floods. In areas where water resources are scarce, we must actively develop efficient water-saving agriculture and dry farming to improve the efficiency of water use.
3.2 Thoroughly implement the strategy of innovative application of agricultural technology to increase farmland productivity
Agricultural science and technology represent the way forward for maintaining and increasing grain output, and we must thoroughly implement the strategy of innovative application of technology to increase farmland productivity. Seeds are the “microchips” of the grain industry. We must win the fight for germplasm security and strive to turn the seed industry around. Only by holding Chinese seeds firmly in our own hands can we secure China’s rice bowl and safeguard food security at the source. To this end, we must first focus on building up the national germplasm resources bank, step up the collection, protection, and utilization of grain crop germplasm, and seek out outstanding germplasm and high-quality genetic resources. Second, we must develop platforms that facilitate major innovations in seed technology for staple crops, initiate collaborative research on core technologies related to germplasm, eliminate bottlenecks, enhance the capacity for independent and original innovation, and step up the development of excellent varieties with breakthroughs in attributes such as high yield and high quality, high water efficiency and drought tolerance, multiple resistances and wide adaptability, suitability for mechanized farming and for use as animal feed, and suitability for special or particular uses, so as to achieve independent control over the germplasm of staple crops. Third, we must actively carry out cutting-edge research that serves the public interest, especially on the genetic basis of breeding and molecular breeding technology, and steadily advance the industrial application of biotechnological breeding. Fourth, we must strengthen commercial crop breeding, the protection of intellectual property rights, and synergy between enterprises, universities, and research institutes. We must encourage more players to participate in the breeding sector and enhance the regulation of the seed industry.
农业科技是粮食稳产增产的根本出路，要深入实施“藏粮于技”战略。种子是粮食的“芯片”，要打赢种源安全战、打好种业翻身仗，用自己的手攥紧中国种子，才能端稳中国饭碗，才能从源头上保障粮食安全。为此，一是加强国家种质资源库建设，强化粮食作物种质资源收集、保护和开发利用， 深入发掘优异种质和优质基因。二是推进主粮作物的种业重大创新平台建设，组织种源核心技术联合攻关，破除瓶颈卡点，提升自主原始创新能力，加快培育高产优质、节水抗旱、多抗广适、宜机宜饲、专用特用等突破性优良品种，实现主粮种源自主可控。三是积极开展育种遗传基础、分子育种技术等前沿性公益性研究，有序推进生物育种的产业化应用。四是健全商业化育种体系，完善知识产权保护， 推进产学研深度融合。壮大育种市场主体，规范种业市场管理。
Modern agricultural machinery underpins our efforts to improve the efficiency of grain production and promote professional and large-scale operations. First, we must strengthen the research, development, and manufacturing of smart agricultural machinery; further the integration of 3S technology, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things into agricultural machinery and equipment; and step up integrated application in water-efficient irrigation, soil testing and fertilization recommendation, planting and harvesting with machinery equipped with satellite positioning, the diagnosis and prevention of pests and diseases, and the monitoring and early warning of meteorological disasters. We must enhance monitoring and early warning, smart management, and information exchange throughout the grain production process. Second, we must make farmland in hilly and mountainous areas more suitable for mechanized farming insofar as local conditions permit and develop and promote agricultural machinery suited to grain production in those regions, plugging the gaps in the mechanization of grain production there. Third, we must vigorously develop commercialized services for grain production such as planting and harvesting services, unified prevention and control of pests and diseases, land trusteeship, and mechanized farming services, through which ordinary farmers and family farms can take advantage of a large number of advanced and useful technologies.
现代化农机装备是提升粮食生产效率、促进粮食专业化和规模化经营的重要支撑。一是加强智能化农机装备研发制造，推进 3S 技术、人工智能、物联网等与农机装备融合，加大在节水灌溉、测土配方施肥、农机定位耕种收、病虫害诊断防控、气象灾害监测预警等方面集成应用，加强粮食生产全过程监测预警、智慧管理和信息交流。二是因地制宜地推动丘陵山区农田宜机化改造，研发推广适用于丘陵山区粮食生产的农机装备，补齐丘陵山区粮食生产的机械化短板。三是大力发展代耕代种、统防统治、土地托管、农机作业服务等粮食生产社会化服务，通过社会化服务将大量先进实用技术集成推向普通农户和家庭农场。
3.3 Make an all-out effort to encourage local governments to focus on grain production and producers to grow grain
To maintain and increase grain output, we must make it rewarding for producers to grow grain and for governments of major grain-producing regions to focus on grain production. Only by stimulating and maintaining the motivation of local party committees and governments to focus on grain production and producers’ motivation to grow grain can China’s comprehensive grain production capacity effectively translate into actual increases in capacity, which allows China to counterbalance the uncertainty of the external environment with the stability of domestic grain production and supply.
To motivate local party committees and governments to focus on grain, we must first improve the mechanism for making sure they fulfill their duty in this respect. Responsibilities and obligations to ensure food security cannot be imposed on main grain-producing regions alone, but instead must be shared between central and local governments and among main production regions, main consumption regions, and regions with balanced production and consumption. Both Party committees and governments must take responsibility for local food security and arable land protection, and they must be subject to rigorous review based on well-conceived criteria. Party committees and governments at all levels must keep the big picture in mind, invest more in grain production, keep grain-sown area and grain output stable, and consciously assume the responsibility for safeguarding China’s food security.34 Second, it is necessary to establish a mechanism to ensure that local governments are motivated to focus on grain production. Transfer payments to major grain-producing provinces should be given due preference, and we should improve the mechanism for compensating main production regions. More rewards and subsidies should be granted to major grain-producing counties, which should be allowed more scope in the use of funds. Local governments should be required to provide a smaller proportion of—if not altogether exempted from providing—matching funds for certain projects and subsidies related to food security. These measures will help ensure that local governments have nothing to lose in focusing on grain production but concrete benefits and growth to gain. Third, we must support local governments in developing the grain economy, extending the industry chain, optimizing the supply chain, and upgrading the value chain, so that advantages in grain resources can translate into strengths in the grain industry and the economy, which gives local governments an internal motivation to focus on grain.
To motivate producers to grow grain crops, we must first improve policies to ensure that they make a profit from doing so. The priority is to stabilize and improve the policy of minimum grain purchase prices, which is essential for keeping expectations and confidence stable and for preventing a significant reduction in grain-planting land. Guided by the approach of stabilizing the framework, reforming the mechanism, and enhancing flexibility, we may prudently proceed with the reform of the minimum purchase price policy to ensure compliance with WTO rules. At the same time, we must step up impact monitoring and risk assessment, and a mechanism should be put in place to compensate producers for losses caused by the reform. Furthermore, we must maintain the existing amount of subsidy, put new increases to the best use, and improve the specificity and effectiveness of policies to tangibly protect and incentivize grain growers. We must actively and steadily expand the availability of full-cost insurance and revenue insurance for rice, wheat, and corn to more regions, evaluate their effectiveness, and work fast to make improvements accordingly. We should strengthen support for large-scale grain producers in particular, enhancing rewards and subsidies for building up grain production capacity, loan interest subsidies, insurance premium subsidies, and subsidies for the purchase or upgrading of agricultural machinery and tools, so as to help safeguard them from risks in grain farming and ensure reasonable returns, or at least no losses, for them. To protect grain growers, it is important to make full use of non-product-specific amber box support, actively expand blue box subsidies, and continue to increase green box investment in agricultural infrastructure. We must gradually establish a tripartite policy framework covering price, subsidy, and insurance to support grain growing. Second, it is necessary to guide producers toward utilizing market mechanisms to make a profit from growing grain crops. We must actively develop agricultural trusteeship, unified prevention and control of pests and diseases, and mechanized farming services to help reduce costs and boost efficiency in grain production; guide producers in adjusting the crop types and varieties planted and encourage ecological farming to help them grow high-quality produce that fetches good prices; and develop contract farming, processing, and logistics to increase the overall income from grain growing.
对生产者种粮而言，一是健全生产者种粮挣钱得利的政策保障。首要是稳定和完善粮食最低收购价政策，这是稳预期、稳信心的基石，是确保粮食面积不大幅下降的关键保障。可以按照“稳定框架、改革机制、增强弹性”思路审慎推进最低收购价政策的合规性改革，同时要加强影响监测和风险评估， 对改革引发的损失应建立生产者补偿机制。其次是稳定存量补贴，优化使用增量补贴，提高政策针对性与有效性，切实发挥对种粮者的保护和激励作用。积极稳步扩大三大主粮完全成本保险和种植收入保险实施范围，在评估政策效果基础上加快改进完善。特别是对粮食规模种植者，应加强粮食生产能力建设奖补、贷款贴息、保险保费补贴、农机具购置或更新补贴等支持，帮助防范种粮风险，保障不亏损、有合理收益。充分利用非特定黄箱支持、积极拓展蓝箱补贴、持续加大农业基础设施等绿箱投资，为生产者种粮“保驾护航”，逐步构建价格、补贴和保险“三位一体”的支持种粮政策体系。二是引导生产者利用市场机制实现种粮挣钱得利。积极发展农业托管、统防统治、农机作业服务，促进粮食生产节本增效 ；引导品种结构调整和生态种养等实现优质优价 ；发展订单农业、加工物流等，提升种粮综合收益。
3.4 Save food and reduce losses throughout the grain production chain and supply chain
We must attach great importance to conserving food, foster the idea that “conservation and loss reduction is equivalent to increasing production,” and take integrated measures to reduce losses and waste in grain production, distribution, storage, processing, and other stages. It is particularly important to improve the top-level design for conserving food and reducing losses and to build a long-term, regular mechanism that coordinates the entire production chain and involves the entire society.
At the production and harvesting stages, we must first breed and promote new varieties of grain crops that are seed saving and suitable for mechanized farming, have high yields and high efficiency, have multiple resistances and wide adaptability, and suffer little loss during harvesting; promote technologies such as factory production of rice seedlings and precision sowing of corn and wheat; and conserve germplasm resources. Second, we must comprehensively improve agricultural production conditions, strengthen monitoring and early warning for meteorological events, pests, and diseases, and enhance the ability to protect grain production from the impacts of disasters, so as to reduce losses from disasters. Third, we must develop and promote smart and green agricultural machinery and equipment for precision harvesting; facilitate the integration of varieties, agricultural machinery, and agronomic practices; optimize the makeup and regional distribution of agricultural machinery fleets; enhance the equipment and capacity for emergency harvesting; step up training in how to correctly operate agricultural machinery; and guide producers in harvesting at the right time and reducing harvest losses.
粮食生产收获环节，一是选育推广节种宜机、高产高效、多抗广适、低损收获的粮食作物新品种， 集成推广水稻工厂化育秧、玉米小麦精细化播种等技术，节约种质资源。二是全方位改善农业生产条件，加强农业气象、病虫害等灾害监测预警，提升粮食生产的抗灾减灾能力，减少灾害损失。三是研发推广智能绿色精细收获农机装备，促进品种与农机、农艺集成配套；优化农机装备结构和区域结构，提升应急抢收装备和应急服务能力 ；加强农机手技能培训，实施规范操作，引导生产者适时择机收获， 降低田间地头收获损耗。
At the storage stage, we must first boost investment in or subsidies for grain drying facilities and encourage various market players to develop grain drying services for farmers and family farms, so as to reduce potential losses associated with drying issues. Second, we must support state-owned and private enterprises in repairing and upgrading old warehouses, encourage the construction of digitalized, standardized, and smart modern grain storage facilities suited to local conditions, and promote the adoption of advanced and practical technologies for green grain storage by other storage providers, so as to make grain storage more scientific. Third, we must encourage and regulate the development of professional grain storage services, promote simple, practical, and convenient grain storage equipment for farmers, and step up training and services in grain storage technologies, so as to reduce storage losses. Fourth, we must pay attention to the rotation of grain reserves to ensure constant storage of new grain and constant freshness of stored grain, thereby reducing the risk of grain spoilage.
At the distribution stage, we must first strengthen the main channels, key routes, and critical nodes for bringing grain from the north to the south; build a well-structured modern system for the convenient transportation and distribution of grain that minimizes losses; and improve special-purpose infrastructure and supporting facilities for grain logistics to make distribution more digitalized, standardized, and scientific. Second, we must enhance the capabilities and standards of the bulk loading, bulk transportation, bulk storage, bulk unloading, and multimodal transport of grain, so as to reduce losses during distribution.
At the processing stage, it is necessary to first revise the standards for moderate grain milling, rationally define the degrees of milling, and guide grain companies toward moderate milling by, for example, levying higher taxes on companies that overprocess grain. Second, it is necessary to improve the equipment, technology, and techniques for milling grain. Moreover, we must explore how to make integrated use of the by-products of grain milling such as rice bran, wheat bran, and germ, reducing their losses by turning them into edible products, functional substances, or industrial products. At the same time, we must strictly control the development of biomass energy that uses grain as raw material. Third, we must raise awareness of the nutrition and functions of moderately milled grain products and the loss of nutrition or substandard nutrition caused by overprocessing, so as to dispel consumers’ dietary misconceptions about polished rice and white flour and foster a healthy attitude toward moderately milled grain products.
粮食加工环节，一是完善粮食适度加工标准， 合理确定加工精度，引导粮食企业适度加工，采取加税等方式对粮食过度加工的企业予以合理引导。二是改良粮食加工装备、技术和工艺，提升加工技术水平。加快对米糠、麸皮、胚芽等粮食加工副产物的再开发和综合利用，研发生产食用产品、功能物质或工业制品，降低粮食加工副产物的损失。同时要严格控制以粮食为原料的生物质能源产业发 展。三是加强宣传粮食适度加工产品的营养性和功能性，以及过度加工导致的营养流失、营养不达标， 引导消费者走出“精米白面”的饮食误区，塑造健康的粮食适度加工产品消费观念。
3.5 Encourage a sense of frugality and curb plate waste
To ensure long-term reduction in food waste, it is necessary to strengthen legislation and regulation, establish long-term mechanisms, continue to further campaigns to save food, and resolutely curb plate waste. In particular, we must enhance public awareness, firmly encourage thrifty habits, and foster an ethos in society that waste is shameful and thrift is admirable. Focusing on key areas—restaurants, school and workplace dining halls, and homes—and key occasions such as business meals and social events, we must step up education, guidance, regulation, and supervision, implement the Action Plan for Saving Food, and effectively curb plate waste.
First, it is important to vigorously promote the ethos of practicing economy and avoiding waste. We must reinforce the idea that conserving food is honorable and wasting food is shameful through social guidance, media publicity, school education, and legislation; actively raise public awareness of the Anti–Food Waste Law and other relevant laws and regulations; promote the “Clean Your Plate Campaign”; and strengthen the scrutiny of food waste behavior. We must instill traditional Chinese virtues such as diligence and thrift particularly in children, teenagers, and students from an early age and step up public awareness campaigns and school education, so that an aversion to food waste may take root in their hearts and minds and become internalized as they grow up. At the same time, we should popularize knowledge about diet and nutrition through dietary guidelines and food guides, so as to help people develop healthy, nutritious, and balanced diets and eating habits and reduce unnecessary consumption arising from overeating and improper diets.
Second, it is important to step up efforts to tackle food waste in the restaurant industry. We must establish a food waste regulatory regime consisting of government regulation, industry self-regulation, and social scrutiny, with regular food waste monitoring, spot checks, and inspections to urge the practice of economy. Financial means such as tax breaks and tiered food scraps disposal rates can be used to incentivize restaurants to conserve food. We must guide the restaurant industry toward strengthening scientific management of food procurement, storage, transportation, and processing. Restaurants should proactively remind consumers to prevent food waste and order an appropriate amount of food according to their actual needs, and they should provide half- and small-portioned dishes and free containers for customers to take leftovers home.
二是加强餐饮行业的食物浪费治理。建立部门监管、行业自律、社会监督等食物浪费监管体系， 开展常态化食物浪费监测、抽查和核查，督促厉行节约 ；以税收优惠、餐余垃圾阶梯收费等经济手段 引导餐饮企业节约粮食和食物。引导餐饮行业加强对食物采购、储运、加工的科学管理 ；主动对消费者进行防止食品浪费提示提醒，引导按需适量点餐， 提供小份餐、半份餐和剩余食物免费打包服务等。
Third, it is important to reduce household and personal food waste. We should actively guide families toward changing how they buy and store food by encouraging frequent purchases of small quantities of ingredients as they need them, so as to reduce waste from overpurchasing and improper storage. We should encourage families to eat a science-based, nutritionally balanced diet and to cook a diversity of nutritious meals in small portions.
Fourth, it is important to strengthen the regulation of official business meals such as those served at receptions, meetings, and training sessions. Meal arrangements should prioritize health and economy and avoid waste. We must vigorously encourage students to develop good eating habits centered on thrift and waste prevention, strengthen on-site supervision in school cafeterias, and step up checks on food waste. It is necessary to further transform customs and traditions, advocate new practices, and curb lavish banquets and wasteful extravagance.