U.S. State Dept calls out China for grain hoarding

The United States also wants to see China help combat the global food crisis, James O’Brien, head of the U.S. State Department’s Office of Sanctions Coordination, told reporters.

“We would like to see it act like the great power that it is and provide more grain to the poor people around the world,” he said. “China has been a very active buyer of grain and it is stockpiling grain… at a time when hundreds of millions of people are entering the catastrophic phase of food insecurity.”

China’s grain stocks at the end of the 2021/22 season were estimated by the International Grains Council to be 323.4 million tonnes, more than half the global total of 607.4 million. They dwarf those of the United States, the world’s top grain exporter, which were estimated at 57.8 million tonnes.

He said some 40% of the first grain shipments out of Ukraine in April went to China “which was awkward,” adding: “It would have been much better to see that grain going to Egypt, in the Horn of Africa and other places.”

The Chinese Embassy in Washington said that China needs to maintain a certain amount of grain reserves because it has less than 9% of the world’s farmland, but it accounts for one fifth of the world’s population.

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