- Lockdown hinders corn planting in Jilin
- Taipei works on defense strategy
- Luckin grabs market share from Starbucks
- Immigration: Shortened quarantine in several cities
- Exports increased significantly in March
- Censors cut new “Dumbledore” movie
- Profile: Lillian Zhang – from journalism to hardware
Amid the devastating zero-covid policy, there might now be a small ray of hope, at least for travelers from abroad: Eight cities are expected to shorten the mandatory quarantine after arrival. However, multiple PCR and antigen tests will still be required. Read more about this in today’s News section.
An overall relaxation of the strict lockdown – which is still all but certain – may come too late for the northeastern province of Jilin. The region grows a particularly large amount of corn. But Beijing’s zero-covid policy could now cause the crop seeding to fail, writes Ning Wang. This is because corn grows only once a year and must be sown within a certain time period. And yet another problem threatens corn supplies: the war in Ukraine. Nearly a third of imported corn comes from Ukraine. Imports from there are now at risk.
For Taiwan, Russia’s invasion of its neighbor is an even more ominous scenario. The island is on heightened alert, and expanding mandatory military service is currently under debate. Our colleague David Demes in Taiwan spoke with a reservist about his training and looked over the positions of military analysts. The latter warn that an extension of conscription and the training of civilians to use special weapons is not possible in the short term.
Due to the holidays, you will receive the next issue of China.Table next Tuesday. We wish you a Happy Easter and some relaxing spring days.
Corn: Potential crop failure could impact global market
Not just in Shanghai, but also in the province of Jilin, lockdowns have been in effect indefinitely for weeks now. This threatens to cause crop failures, which could further exacerbate the supply situation. Jilin, which is known for its highly fertile soils, accounts for about ten percent of the national corn harvest. Food prices, which have already climbed due to higher energy prices, could rise even further as a result of crop failures.
Most recently, grain was already scarce in the country due to a particularly poor winter wheat harvest. As a result, Beijing now imports grain and stockpiles it in state granaries (China.Table reported). This shifts domestic shortages to the global market, where prices also rise. Now, something similar could happen with corn and its price on the global market.
Experts suggest that the problems could be even more serious this time. Even Pay, an agriculture analyst at strategic consulting firm Trivium China, points out that corn grows only once a year and must be planted in a specific time period – usually within the two weeks between the end of April and the beginning of May, which will now be affected by the lockdown. Pay warns of significant crop losses.