China corn video stokes food security fears amid coronavirus pandemic, flooding and drought

China corn video stokes food security fears amid coronavirus pandemic, flooding and drought

  • Beijing criticises local move to ban mobile devices from granaries, says investigation shows no problem with corn quality
  • Suspicions about quantity and quality of corn stockpiles arose due to a recent jump in market price and record purchases from United States

China’s state agency in charge of its strategic grain stockpiles has sparked concern over the quality of national grain reserves, particularly corn, after a local unit moved to ban all photo-taking devices from its granaries.

The order, by the storehouse unit of the China Grain Reserves Cooperative (Sinograin) in the northern province of Heilongjiang province last week, came as the impact of the coronavirus, heavy summer flooding and record purchases from the United States have increased worries about food security in the world’s most populous country.

The device ban followed the online posting of a video showing a pile of corn from a Sinograin warehouse in Zhaodong, a county-level city outside Zhaozhou, in mid-July.

Much of the grain appeared to be mouldy and mixed with bits of dirt and other foreign matter. The clip circulated on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.