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China On The Verge Of A Major Food Crisis – Part 1

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

By Eric Mertz of the General Crisis Watch Substack

A third of farmers in Jilin, Heilongjiang, and Liaoning report they can’t get the necessary inputs to begin farming.

This report from the CCP administrations in those regions comes mere weeks before farmers were due to start planting, meaning they would at best miss the best time to plant – driving down yields – and at worst not be able to plant at all. The later seems likely, given the recent fertilizer shortage brought about by Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine will have a further impact for China, due to their reliance on roughly 2 million tons of corn from Ukraine each year, most of which is used as livestock feed for China's pig farms.

This disruption in corn to Chinese pig farmers comes as demand is increasing after three years of severe cuts due to African Swine Fever resulting in mass culling. Though its entirely possible China isn’t out of the woods yet. Chinese pig farmers are reportedly losing $75 per hog slaughtered, as opposed to a profit of $175 per hog last year. This is extremely significant for Chinese nutritional health, as pork makes up over 60% of the average Chinese meat consumption at ~54 pounds per person per year.

The domestic situation is not helped by trucking volumes in rural areas dropping by 87% for the year. Vice-Premiere Hu Chunhua has already called on provincial authorities to adjust their Zero COVID policies to stop arresting farmers for working their fields during the lockdowns. This crisis seems to be driven by local officials implementing strict policies which results in truckers facing two-week quarantines. At a cost of ¥3360 ($556) for the 14 days spent in a camp, this amounts to half the annual average income for truck drivers in China. The situation linking rural areas to the cities aren’t much better as major cities, and even entire provinces, shut down highway travel to prevent becoming another Shanghai. Beijing has ordered provincial authorities to implement priority passes to get long-haul truckers in to deliver goods, but it is likely too-little too-late.

Political Infighting

To make matters worse, the political infighting between former party leader Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai Clique and Xi Jinping’s Tsinghua clique may have just broken into the open. Vice-Premiere Sun Chunlan – the woman responsible for implementing China’s COVID policy – has summoned a number of Shanghai officials before her to answer accusations of "lying flat". This comes after reports of party and local government mismanagement began to circulate on Western social media websites.

There have already been reports of assassination attempts against Xi in the past. And Xi hasn't left China since his state visit to Myanmar 822 days ago. In that time, he has purged top leadership of China’s internal apparatus of oppression.

Now, with the 14th National Party Congress convening in March of 2023 – and with it the selection of the next President of the People’s Republic of China – it appears Xi may be in a very real life-or-death struggle for control over the party.

However, these are not the only issues facing China. There is more to come.


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