China plans to grow 40% more soybeans by 2025 to cut reliance on imports

CHINA — China has set a goal of producing 40% more soybeans by the end of 2025 in an attempt to cut reliance on imports and boost self-sufficiency in the oilseed.  

According to the 14th five-year plan on crop farming, the world’s second-largest economy aspires to produce 23 million tonnes of soybeans, compared to the production of 16.4 million tonnes currently.  

China relies on the global market for 85% of its soybeans and it heavily relies on a few countries for its imports. 

Since 2019, China has set out a plan to revitalize domestic soybean production, but output fell 16% in 2021 with some farmers opting to plant more profitable crops such as corn. 

The five-year plan says China will cultivate land specifically for growing soybeans, expand soybean-corn rotation programs and focus on raising the yield of soybeans. 

It also will expand the planting and output of other oilseeds such as rapeseed and peanut to meet the increasing demand for cooking oil and feed protein. 

China hopes to raise rapeseed production by 29%, to 18 million tonnes, while peanut production is targetted at19 million tonnes from 17.99 million tonnes. 

China also hopes 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. 

Corn imports hit new record in 2021 

Meanwhile, soaring prices and a supply crunch in China led the world’s largest grain importer to more than double its corn imports in 2021. 

According to a Reuters report, China brought in 28.35 million tonnes of corn in all of 2021, up 152% from an annual record figure of 11.3 million tonnes in 2020. 

With China paring back its huge temporary stockpiles of corn and bad weather smacking important production regions, prices of corn hit record highs in 2021. 

Buyers as a result reached for overseas markets and imported corn and wheat to plug the domestic supply gap. 

Imports slowed down in December as a bigger corn crop brought down domestic prices. China imported 1.33 million tonnes of corn in December, down 39.9% from the previous year, customs data showed. 

The report also shows that imports of wheat in 2021 also hit a record at 9.77 million tonnes and were up 16.6% from 8.38 million tonnes in 2020. 

In 2021, China also imported 12.48 million tonnes of barley, up 54.5% from the previous year, and 9.42 million tonnes of sorghum, up 95.6%. 

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