China to produce 40% more soybeans by 2025 in self

China said it would raise domestic soybean output sharply in the next four years, in a drive to boost self sufficiency in supply of the oilseed, according to an official document released on Thursday.

The country has set a goal to produce about 23 million tonnes of soybeans by end of 2025, up 40% from current output levels of 16.4 million tonnes, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said, releasing its 14th five-year plan on crop farming.

Expansion of soybean and oilseeds production in 2022 was urged during a top central leadership policy meeting in late December.

The 2025 goal also comes as the pandemic continues to roil farm produce supply chains and trade tensions linger between China and the U.S., its second-largest supplier of soybeans.

China relies on the global market for 85% of its soybean demand and the import origins are highly concentrated, the ministry said in the five-year plan document.

In 2019 China set out a plan to revitalise domestic soybeans, and has later repeatedly reiterated the need to boost domestic output, to secure grain security and cut reliance on imports from the United States.

Soybean output in China fell 16% in 2021 from the previous year, as some farmers dumped growing the oilseed and turned to more profitable crops like corn.

According to the five-year plan document, China will cultivate land specifically for growing soybeans, expand soybean-corn rotation programmes and focus on raising the yield of the oilseed during the 2021-25 period.

Beijing will also expand planting acreage and output of other oilseeds, including rapeseed and peanut, to meet increasing demand for cooking oils and feed protein, according to the document.

Rapeseed output will be raised 29% to 18 million tonnes, while peanut production will hit over 19 million tonnes, up from 17.99 million tonnes in 2020, under the plan.

China cut rapeseed imports from top exporter and producer Canada in 2019 amid souring bilateral relation between Beijing and Ottawa. Shipments remain limited.

Beijing aims to produce 215 million tonnes of rice, 140 million tonnes of wheat, and 277.5 million tonnes of corn by 2025, up slightly from output levels in 2020, according to the document.

China imported record high volumes of grains including corn and wheat in the past two years, as prices of domestic corn soared. However, shipments of some grains have fallen lately amid weakening demand.

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