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China to boost grain logistics in effort to ensure food security

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BEIJING, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- China will significantly improve logistics in its grain production industry by 2015 as part of the country's efforts to tackle "arduous challenges" to ensuring food security, a senior agriculture official said Thursday.

Nie Zhenbang, head of the State Administration of Grain (SAG), said China is facing mounting difficulties to maintain sufficient supply of grain due to factors ranging from shrinking natural resources to booming population, rapid urbanization to industrialization.

He said SAG and the National Development and Reform Commission have mapped out a five-year work plan to tackle the challenges. Among the measure, SAG has pledged to significantly improve grain logistics facilities with high technology to achieve a modern, efficient, well-strctured grain logistics system by 2015.

Grain storage capacity will also grow 20 million tonnes before 2015 through the building of new depots in major grain production bases, and the country's western region, Nie said. He said open-air depots will be phased out while most grass-roots depots will be renovated.

Major inter-provincial tranportation will also be upgraded, he added.

Nie said the administration is also planning to set up a real-time monitoring system of grain and an early warning system.

China plans to reach a grain production capacity of more than 540 million tonnes in the next five years, 8 percent more than the annual target of the 2006-2010 period, according to its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) for National Economic and Social Development.

Senior agriculture officials have said that ensuring sufficient supply of agricultural products and stabilizing grain prices form the foundation of steady economic growth.

Agricultural ministry data shows the country is now 100 percent self-sufficient in production of the three staple grains -- rice, wheat and corn.

However, domestic production of some other agricultural products, including soybean and mung bean, fall short of meeting demand.

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