The government is promoting the potato as China's 'fourth staple' to feed the world's most-populous nation and ensure security of supplies.
As the largest potato producer in the world, China expects to benefit much from the valuable crop, which the current Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) designates as the country's fourth staple food alongside rice, grains, and corn to ensure the Chinese of food safety and security.
Identifying potato as China's fourth staple food has been long overdue. Although potatoes have historically been part of China's various regional cuisines, their inclusion as a staple rarely happens in Chinese households.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) clearly defines food safety and security as among its top agendas in the present Five-Year Plan, which targets 6.67 hectares dedicated to potato production by 2020. The Ministry of Agriculture envisions potato to constitute 30 percent of China's food.
At present, the plan to make potato a significant component of Chinese food is smoothly taking place. For instance, potato powder now comprises around 50% of food components that derive from staple crops, which include Chinese cuisine essentials such as steamed buns and noodles.
Faced with the world's largest population, which necessitates the importation of a huge range of foodstuffs, the Ministry of Agriculture is promoting the food of the future－the potato, a tuber that has long been part of China's culinary landscape, but is rarely used as a staple.
China's grain output rose from 411 million metric tons in 2004 to 565 million tons in 2014, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The growth in output hasn't caught up with the accelerating rate of consumption; the World Bank predicts that China's demand for grain will reach 670 million tons in 2020 rise to 700 million tons in 2030.