China may bring in a record grain harvest this year following an increase in the planting area, Bloomberg reported, citing the Ministry of Agriculture. About 263 million acres, 1.6 million acres more than the previous year, have been seeded with rice, corn and soybeans. The ministry did not give an estimate for the total output in 2008. Should grain output rise, it would be the fifth increase in as many years. China hasn’t managed this feat since its economic reforms began in the late 1970s. The country is already the world’s biggest consumer of grain, and it is focusing on boosting crop yields to ensure it has enough food to meet the growing demands of an ever more affluent population. The ministry also noted that increased output would help curb rapid price increases. Rising food prices were largely responsible for a sharp hike in the consumer price index in the first half of this year.