Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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(1,792 words)

In China, grains are defined to include "cereals" (rice, wheat, and maize) and a wide variety of other "inferior" food crops, including barley, oats, rye, sorghum, and millet. Tubers (potatoes and sweet potatoes), soybeans, broad and red beans, and peas are normally also categorized as grain crops. The grain sector has always been the cornerstone of Chinese agriculture. Even after the Chinese economy has long ceased to be driven by the farm sector, with the population enjoying a large surplus in excess of its subsistence needs, the government still in…

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Ash, Robert F., “Grain”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 02 October 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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