According to the U.S. Grains Council, China is on track to produce more corn than rough rice for the first time in history, illustrating the growing affluence by the Chinese middle class and their demand for a more protein-rich diet.
In its December World Agricultural Supply & Demand Estimate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture upwardly revised its projection of Chinese corn production from 200 million metric tons (7.9 billion bushels) to 208 million metric tons (8.2 billion bushels). USDA is also projecting a Chinese rough rice production of slightly more than 204 million metric tons.
Over the past 20 years, China has experienced explosive growth in meat demand. Poultry consumption has increased 300%. Pork consumption has increased 85% and beef consumption has increased 155%.
The increases are a dramatic contrast to the U.S. figures, which are 45%, 6% and 3% respectively. Rice represents a staple food for more than 2 billion people—including two of the world's most populous countries—India and China—but the data suggests people in China are increasing their desire for animal protein.
"Dramatic shifts in corn production are taking place across the globe" said Kevin Roepke, USGC manager of Global Trade. "This is stark evidence that today's corn producer is well poised to take advantage of growing global consumerism."
The U.S. Grains Council has been operational in China for more than 30 years with a country office located in Beijing, specializing in technical demand building programs and market intelligence.