In April 2005, the World Food Programme and the Chinese government jointly announced that food aid shipments to China would stop at the end of the year. For a country where a generation ago hundreds of millions of people were chronically hungry, this was a landmark achievement. Not only has China ended its dependence on food aid, but almost overnight it has become the world’s third largest food aid donor. The key to China’s success was the economic reforms in 1978 that dismantled its system of agricultural collectives, known as production teams, and replaced them with family farms. In each …
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