China’s plant to increase the use of bioethanol will not have a significant impact on the grain market, and it would be unrealistic for the country to import large amounts of corn for the industry’s development, a government official told Xinhua Net.
"The government plan to increase ethanol fuel production was for consuming corn stocks," said Han Jun, director of the central agricultural work leading team office, at a press conference.
Years of support for corn farmers has left China with a substantial stockpile. In 2016, China's corn output stood at around 220 million tonnes, while stocks amounted to 230 million tonnes.
According to government estimates, China's stockpile will suffice to meet demand in the short term, Han said, achieving a supply-demand balance in the corn market in three to five years.
For China, the basic principle of developing biofuel is not to pose threat to food security, Jun explained.
China launched corn-to-ethanol pilot programmes in 2004 as part of efforts to cut emissions and advance new energy, and it is the world's third-largest bioethanol producer, using nearly 2.6 million tonnes a year.
Earlier this month, China said it wanted nationwide use of bioethanol gasoline by 2020, and aimed to have an advanced liquid biofuel system and demonstration facility in operation by then, capable of producing 50,000 tonnes of cellulosic ethanol a year.
To reduce corn stocks, China said it would reduce its corn planting area by around 670,000 hectares and switch to other crops in 2017.
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