China's food supply will remain stable during Spring Festival, the most important traditional holiday for Chinese people, despite challenges caused by COVID-19 risks, the top food reserve authority said on Thursday.
Qin Yuyun, chief of grain reserves at the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, said domestic COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control is at a critical stage, and Spring Festival will see consumption of a range of foods boom.
"We are capable and confident in ensuring an adequate supply and a stable domestic market," he said.
Qin said the administration will urge its branches across China to guide food reserve enterprises to carry out effective epidemic prevention and control measures during grain acquisition and help the enterprises solve possible difficulties, such as transporting grains, to ensure COVID-19 outbreaks will not impede acquisition of grains harvested in the fall.
The administration will closely monitor food markets and price fluctuations so that it can respond promptly to any problems. It will also urge local authorities to improve emergency plans to ensure the stable supply of food during the holiday, he said. Food enterprises will be encouraged to diversify products they sell to meet consumer demand.
The administration will make better use of reserve grains, including rice and wheat, in case of market shortages, Qin said.
Meanwhile, the administration will work with related departments to intensify supervision and inspection of the processing, distribution and sales of grains and edible oils, and severely punish violations such as hoarding food for illegal profit to ensure market stability, Qin said.
An effective emergency system for the nation's food supply has been well established, and major enterprises are capable of processing food with high efficiency, which can ensure the emergency supply of food, he said.
China has intensified COVID-19 prevention and control with Thursday's arrival of the 40-day peak travel season surrounding the Spring Festival holiday. Normally, hundreds of millions of trips are made during the period, but the number is expected to be considerably reduced this year due to government measures designed to restrict mass movement of people to minimize risks of COVID-19 infection. They include encouraging migrant workers to spend Spring Festival in the cities where they work.
Authorities should also ensure the supply of key commodities and public services to ensure people's livelihoods are not affected during the holiday, the State Council, China's Cabinet, said in a circular released on Monday.