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China Has Much To Teach The World About Beating Hunger

Once the site of WFP’s largest operation, China is now the world’s second largest economy with much to teach the world about beating hunger. During her recent trip to Asia, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran visited China’s biggest commodities exchange to learn how activity there impacts the world’s hungry.

ZHENGZHOU— In China for a trip across East Asia, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran went to the nation’s breadbasket in the east central Henan province where she visited the trading floor of the booming Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange (ZCE).

While there, she noted that one of the central problems faced by the world's poor was a lack of places for farmers to sell their food.

“In much of the world, buyers and sellers don’t meet. You see many countries where one village is going hungry where another one has food that’s rotting,” she said.

Since 1990, the ZCE has served this function for the Henan region of China, the biggest food-producing region in the country, to become one of the most important commodity exchanges in the world.

A success story

“China used to be our biggest programme and today they contribute to WFP. We have a lot to learn from them about how to fill this cup,” she added, indicating one of the iconic red cups used in WFP school meals programmes.

Today,  “Zhengzhou Prices” for wheat, rice and rapeseed oil have become important references in the world’s grain and oil markets, providing a window on China’s cereal supply and demand.

Henan produces 25 percent of China's wheat and has a flourishing processing industry, where most of the country's noodles and dumplings are made.