China's Agriculture, Smallholders and Trade: Driven by the Livestock Revolution?

20 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2008

See all articles by Allan N. Rae

Allan N. Rae

Massey University - School of Economics and Finance


China's sustained rapid economic growth and development has contributed to the surge in consumption and production of livestock in that country termed the livestock revolution. Consumption trends are first reviewed, and changes in food consumption patterns include a marked shift away from grains and towards meats and dairy products. A question is to what extent this rapid increase in demand for livestock products is reflected in China's agri-food trade statistics? While her agri-food imports have dramatically increased since China's accession to the WTO, livestock products have not made a noticeable contribution, although the import of certain animal feedstuffs has. This implies China's continuing self-sufficiency in most livestock products. The paper next considers developments in China's livestock farming sector and policies that have been contributing to these supply-side developments. The paper concludes with an examination of issues that may be important to the future development of China's, and the world's, livestock situation; this includes future demand developments, and the question of whether future demand growth in China might be met with local production, imports of final product, and/or imports of feedstuffs.

Suggested Citation

Rae, Allan N., China's Agriculture, Smallholders and Trade: Driven by the Livestock Revolution?. Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Vol. 52, No. 3, pp. 283-302, September 2008, Available at SSRN: or

Allan N. Rae (Contact Author)

Massey University - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

Palmerston North
New Zealand

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