Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2008, Vol. 63 ›› Issue (10): 1064-1072.doi: 10.11821/xb200810006

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Assessment on Vulnerable Regions of Food Security in China

YIN Peihong1,2, FANG Xiuqi2   

  1. 1. Policy Research Center for Environment and Economy, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Beijing 100029, China;
    2. School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2007-12-07 Revised:2008-04-01 Online:2008-10-25 Published:2008-10-25
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40571165; Key Project of National Scientific and Technological Support Plan , No.2007BAC03A11


An integrated index balancing between supply and demand for grain, reserves for food security and food affordability etc. is constructed for assessing the vulnerability of food security at the county level of China. Taking the revenue burden below 25% of local financial income as the acceptable threshold, six types of food security have been identified based on the data from county statistics for the period 2002-2004. Under the situation of grain-sown area less changed and without severe agricultural disasters, only about 14.5% of the total counties and cities (classified to Type1 and Type 3) have food productivity or food affordability to ensure food security at 400 kg per capita grain level. About 29.4% of the whole (Type 2) with food production at 400 kg per capita grain level, of which 57% belong to the main grain-output regions, would be difficult to afford huge reserves for food security because of the lowest local revenue and large population. In other words, 72% of the total main grain-output regions belong to this kind of food security. If these regions increase their financial income through decreasing the grain-sown area and increasing the non-agricultural use of cultivated land as what the developed regions in China have done, it would increase the risk of food security in China. The most vulnerable regions in food security in China (Type 6) are in 30% of the total counties and cities in China, which can be divided into two sub-types of the grain-shortage region. One is poor natural resource domain with the lowest food production and food affordability at 300 kg per capita grain level located in the marginal zone of summer monsoon and the hilly areas in southern China, and the other is industrial structure domain with the highest local financial income as well as the most densely populated coastal regions in Southeast China. To ensure the food security in the regions of Type 6, it is important to reduce grain production for ecological restoration, to improve farmers' livelihood, and to establish reserves system for food security in the regions of the former sub-type; while in the latter sub-type, it is very important to keep a moderate level of food production through identifying the red line of the grain-sown area and high-quality cultivated land, based on the threshold of acceptable level of revenue burden for food security.

Key words: food security, vulnerability assessment, China