China to produce 40% more soybeans by 2025 in self-sufficiency drive

Credit: REUTERS/Darley Shen

China relies onglobal marketfor 85% of soybean demand

Domestic soybean output in 2021 fell 16% on year

Beijing to cultivate land to grow soybeans, expand corn-soybean rotation

Adds details, background, data in paragraphs 3-9

BEIJING, Jan 13 (Reuters) - 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.

China has set a goal to produce about 23 million tonnes of soybeans by end of 2025, up 40% from current output levels at 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 COVID-19 pandemic continues to roil farm produce supply chains and trade tensions linger between China and the United States, its second-largest supplier of soybeans.

China relies on theglobal marketfor 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 reiterated repeatedly later the need to boost domestic output, to secure grain security and cut reliance on imports from the United States.

Soybean output in China in 2021 fell 16% from the previous year, however, 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,

China also aims to produce about 277.5 million tonnes of corn by 2025, up 1.8% from output in 2021, according to the document.

(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Emily Chow; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Kenneth Maxwell)

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