Feeding the Dragon


For this blog post I have chosen to discuss how the nation of China has grown since entering the World Trade Organization, and how these changes effect Chinas overall demand for agricultural imports and the ramifications of those demands on Brazils Amazon Rainforest.

China has experienced a tremendous economic boom over the past decade which has allowed living standards to rise, essentially making China an integral part of the global agricultural market. Throughout China’s long and complex history, it has been a nation that strives to be self-sufficient; however, due to a growing population with higher demands for protein and land-intensive crops, Chinese official have been required to change their political strategies on how they approach agricultural imports (Gale, 2014). The past three decades in China have shown an enormous rural migration of farmers from the countryside into urban settings. This movement accompanied with changing food consumption patterns have put Chinas food security at major risk.

I would like to conclude this blog by discussing how Chinas demand for agricultural imports, such as soy, is driving deforestation in Brazil. Although China has the largest population in the world, it has decreasing arable lands to produce the food necessary to feed 1.3 billion people. Evidence shows that China has been on the forefront in funding the development of infrastructure in the Amazon rainforest. The purpose of this development is to expand food production for Chinese agricultural exports.


Fred Gale, James Hansen, and Michael Jewison. China’s Growing Demand for Agricultural Imports, EIB-136, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, February 12, 2014, from http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1784488/eib136.pdf



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3 responses to “Feeding the Dragon

  1. amyquandt

    Why has China chosen to focus on Brazil for agricultural development? Are they developing infrastructure in other countries or regions as well?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mateo caicedo

      China is the largest food importer in the world. Due to its ascension in the the World Trade Organization in 2001 it has been able to join more expansive and interconnected food markets. The US continues to be Chinas largest supplier of agricultural products, followed closely second by Brazil. Unlike the US, which has an already sophisticated development of infrastructure for agriculture, Brazil does not. This development in the Amazon is also much riskier to carry out because of the threat of losing one of the world biodiversity hotspots.


  2. victoriallen

    As many of the farmers migrate from rural areas towards urban settings, do you think there is a future for urban agriculture in China that would help to reduce the demand for agricultural imports?


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