Can China be Self-Sufficient in Food?

Thursday, September 26, 2019 10:00
Raymond Building R2-046, 21111 Lakeshore Road, St Anne de Bellevue, QC, H9X 3V9, CA

The Department of Bioresource Engineering invites you to a Special Seminar by Prof. Dennis McLaughlin, H.M. King Bhumibol Professor of Water Resource Management, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, MA

China’s food imports have been increasing in response to higher meat consumption, stress on land and water resources, and population growth. This increase has national security implications for China and important economic and environmental consequences for the rest of the world. Here we estimate the imports needed to feed China’s projected 2030 population under ideal conditions with efficient and sustainable use of natural resources. Estimates are obtained from an optimization procedure that identifies the land and water use strategies that minimize imports, for a particular population and diet. Our results indicate that China could eliminate imports and feed its 2030 population with a historical 2010 diet, accompanied by focused improvements in crop yields and redistribution of land and water resources. However, feeding this population with a more meat-intensive diet projected for 2030 will require soybean imports to continue at current high levels, even with management improvements.


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