Factors Influencing Food Demand

The factors which influence the total demand for future grain are various, among which the following are the key ones.

Population Growth

China has a large population baseline. Consequently, the growth rate of the population is also noticeable. This determines not only the increase of food grain, but also of the grain demand for other purposes. Since the family planning policy was started in 1978, the population growth rate has declined steadily (Fig. 2.1). However the absolute number is still gradually increasing (Fig. 2.2).

Income Level of Households

The per capita gross domestic product (GDP) represents the economic development level of a country . It also has a direct influence on the structure and level of food consumption. Viewing the development of all the countries in the world, the higher the national income level, the more indirect grains will be consumed. The direct consumption of grain ration will continually decrease while the absolute demand of food will increase. According to the relevant statistics of Penn World Table 5.61 the per capita GDP in China has exploded from $567 US in 1960 to $1,493 US in 1992, with an average growth rate of 3.0

Table 2.1. China

's grain yield (10,000 ton)

Year

Grain gross

Rice

Wheat

1978

30,477

13,693

5,384

1979

33,212

14,375

6,273

1980

32,056

13,991

5,521

1981

32,052

14,396

5,964

1982

35,450

16,160

6,847

1983

38,728

16,887

8,139

1984

40,731

17,826

8,782

1985

37,911

16,857

8,481

1986

39,151

17,222

9,004

1987

40,298

17,426

8,590

1988

39,408

16,911

8,543

1989

40,755

18,013

9,081

1990

44,624

18,933

9,823

1991

43,529

18,381

9,595

1992

44,266

18,622

10,159

1993

45,649

17,751

10,639

1994

44,510

17,593

9,930

1995

46,662

18,523

10,221

95/78

153%

135%

190%

percent. From 1993 to 1995, the per capita GDP registered an annual growth rate of over 6 percent. With the increase of per capita gross national product, there will be a corresponding increase in the absolute demand of grains.

Dietary Structure

The dietary structure is mostly influenced by the per capita income level. The other factors are tradition, geographic environment and food supply situation, etc. With the rising per capita income level, the proportion of animal product consumption in the dietary structure will get higher, which means a decrease in direct grain consumption and an increased consumption of converted food products. It is estimated that by 2010 per capita energy intake will be 2,750-2,800 calories, and 2,800-3,000 calories by 2030. The proportion of the energy intake from animal products will increase, while that of the energy intake from cereals will decline (Fig. 2.3).

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