Click through the interactive infographic to see how China, the world’s largest nation and second-largest economy, has shifted its breadbaskets to the northeast.
By 2020, China anticipates needing nearly 600 million metric tons of corn, rice, and wheat annually, which is about 5 percent more than is grown now, to feed its people. China’s northeast “breadbasket” provinces — Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning — harvests more than 100 million metric tons of grain a year, which is about 18 percent of the country’s total grain harvest.
In elevating Heilongjiang and its neighboring provinces from the bottom of the farm production pack to the very top during this decade, China has shifted the geographic center of its grain harvest from Henan and other central provinces to the northeast, where there is abundant water and some of the world’s most fertile black earth. What is in worrisome is the damage to the nation’s water and land that China appears ready to accept to ensure that its growing population — with its much stronger appetite for grain-fed beef, pork, and chicken — is handsomely fed.
Click the image below to launch an interactive Google Fusion Tables map that shows grain production data by province from 1997 to 2010, illustrating the historical shift in grain production across the country. (Data gathered from the China Statistical Yearbook of China’s National Bureau of Statistics.)
This map was created by Samuel Kosinski, a data intern for Circle of Blue. Contributors include Aubrey Ann Parker and Jordan B. Bates of Circle of Blue, with assistance from Jennifer Turner of the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum.
Choke Point: China is an on-going Circle of Blue series, produced in partnership with the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum. Through frontline reporting, the project finds new and powerful evidence of a ruinous confrontation between water, food, and energy that is visible across China and is virtually certain to grow more dire over the next decade. Choke Point: China is part of Global Choke Point, which is uncovering new data and strategic narratives about water, food, and energy in the world’s most vulnerable regions.