BEIJING, June 17 (Xinhua) -- China's agriculture minister Han Changfu said Tuesday that the country is poised for a record bumper harvest this summer, with an increase in grain output for the 11th straight year.
"We're quite sure about a big harvest this summer," the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) announced.
The announcement should allay worries about China's ability to feed its 1.3 billion people amid soaring soybean imports in recent years.
China's grain self-sufficiency rate stood above 97 percent in 2013 and cereal imports reached 14 million tonnes, accounting for less than 2.6 percent of the country's cereal output, according to the MOA.
More than 80 percent of winter wheat has been reaped by farmers this summer, according to ministry data.
The increase in wheat planting areas has laid a solid foundation for the rise in grain output, Han said, noting that Chinese farmers planted 27.7 million hectares of summer crops this year, up about 670,000 hectares from a year ago.
Higher grain output was reported in all of China's 11 major wheat production regions, including Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces, according to the ministry.
Local authorities have been urged to closely monitor the harvest and sowing situation to ensure another bumper harvest for the whole year.
China's summer grain crops, mainly wheat and early-season rice, usually account for about 20 percent of its annual grain output. Autumn grain crops, which include corn and middle- and late-season rice, account for the remaining 80 percent.
Summer grain output rose 1.5 percent, or 1.96 million tonnes, from that of 2012 to reach 131.89 million tonnes last year.
For the full year, grain output expanded 2.1 percent year on year to hit 601.94 million tonnes in 2013, marking 10 years in a row for increased grain production.
China has a red-line guarantee that arable land shall never shrink to less than 120 million hectares.