China’s Global Foodprint. Anyone Else See a Problem?

Sunday, October 27, 2013 5:09
Posted in category The Big Picture

While recently reviewing some notes on China’s growing foodprint, I came across a presentation written by Daron Hoffman (formerly of Rabobank) that contained a chart that I think highlights the size of China’s effect on the world food market.

It is a graphic that I think deserves serious thought as:
(1) Ghis represents China today, at about 50% urbanization
(2) While China’s per capita footprint for everything (carbon, water, etc) is nearly 1/5 of the world average, but if you were to look at the urban centers you would find many surpass the footprints of their Western peers
(3) China’s goal is to urbanize another 300m people by 2030.

ergo.. this as the next 300m are urbanized, this will grow into a larger issue should nothing about the system that delivers food change.

One of the big area where the system can change, is in the efficiency of the food delivery system. China is, or at least was, a country where all the cities could feed themselves. However, as China’s urban centers grew, and as these local systems grew, inefficiency began to skyrocket as the investments in critical processes were not made.

The result is that China now wastes between 40-60% of its food between the farm and the fork. which is a needless source of pressure for the economy in the form of food inflation, but longer term, this is also a water problem. A water problem in that half the water used in the ag economy is lost, and a water problem because the other half of the water is left heavily contaminated by pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers.

Beijing. We have a growing problem.

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