Will the Chinese start eating Potatoes instead of Rice?

You might not expect it, but China is the largest potato producer in the world. Most of the potato harvest is exported or used as animal feed. But Chinese leaders have an ambitious plan. They want their population to switch from eating rice to eating , in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

Compared to potatoes, for each calorie of rice, more water is needed and more greenhouse gasses are emitted. In 2015 the Chinese government implemented a policy to double the potato yield and add potatoes to the Chinese diet. Researchers estimated that between 2015 and 2030, the greenhouse gasses from basic crops such as potatoes and rice would decrease with 9% when these objectives are achieved.

However, changing eating habits is quite a task, especially since eating rice is entrenched in Chinese culture. We don’t see Chinese habit moving away from rice anytime soon, but if a substantial part of the rice will be replaced it would be good. China can also be an example for other Asian countries, increasing the impact of eating potatoes.

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