Food security fears as China’s farmland shrinks

China's arable land might drop below the "red line" of 120 million hectares in six years' time because of rampant illegal use, Asia Times reported on Thursday, citing land use experts.

Official statistics show construction took up 289,000 hectares of farmland last year, slightly more than the planned 267,000 hectares. The area of arable land has shrunk by 307,000 hectares in the past year.

 "If arable land shrinks at such a pace, the red line will be breached in six years," an official was quoted by Shanghai-based China Business News as saying.

For China, retaining 120 million hectares of arable land until 2020 is essential for food security.

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