Xi and other Chinese paramount leaders
Image credit: Christian Ader / iStock

Brief: Xi highlights alt-protein as central to Chinese food security

March 10, 2022

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping outlined his government’s perspectives on food security and resilience during the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference – the country’s political advisory body.
  • In his speech, Xi said that China must adopt “a ‘Greater Food’ approach” to nutrition, to ensure a secure supply of of all staple food groups, according to Xinhua.
  • “While protecting the ecology and environment, we should shift our focus from farmland only,” he told delegates. “Apart from traditional crops, livestock, and poultry resources, we should exploit biological resources. By developing biological science, biotechnology, and bio-industries, we can obtain calories and protein from plants, animals, and microorganisms.”

Why it matters:

Xi’s reference to alt-protein may be seen as a tacit endorsement of technologies such as cell-cultured meat and precision fermentation, which are yet to complete the regulatory approval process in China.

It follows the inclusion of alt-protein under China’s current Five-Year Plan in a policy document published by the country’s agriculture ministry earlier this year.

In a statement, Good Food Institute Asia-Pacific acting managing director Mirte Gosker said that Xi’s speech “suggests that sustainable protein production could play a key role in realizing the nation’s green economy vision, right alongside renewable energy and battery manufacturing.”

“If China can do for plant-based, fermentation-enabled, and cultivated meat what it is already doing for clean energy, the result could be a global food system that is dramatically safer and more efficient than the one we have today.”

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