RICE farmers in China’s Fujian province are suffering a food crisis, with the price of rice falling by half in a year.
The number of rice farmers in the region has plummeted by almost one third in the last three years, according to the World Bank.
According to the latest data, there were only 11,000 rice farmers and they were struggling to survive the year.
“China’s rice production is about 1.2 billion tonnes, so it’s quite a big number,” said Li Jinxing, director of the National Rice Research Institute in Fujian.
“The price of wheat has been dropping for the last two years, but rice has been rising.”
With a lot of the farmers now struggling to pay for their rice, the market has been very volatile, and people are starting to ask, ‘what do I do?’
“In December last year, the prices of rice were about 8 yuan ($1.80), and now they are down to 4.5 yuan ($0.80).”
Rice prices are now down from what they were five years ago,” Li said.
Chinese rice farmers have become accustomed to the cheap prices of wheat in the market, and have not been able to raise their prices much in the past.
However, the rice crisis has hit the price much harder, and it has led to some people turning to alternative food sources.”
I don’t buy rice for myself, but I’ve also turned to Chinese cooking, which has become a popular alternative to wheat,” Li added.”
People have started buying chicken instead of rice.
Chicken is cheaper than rice, and the price is also more sustainable.
“Some people are even buying beef and pork instead of white rice for their families.”
China is one of the biggest rice producers in the world, accounting for about 80% of the global market.