Kiev (AsiaNews/Agencies) - With a massive investment of over US$ 2.6
billion, the Chinese government will plough up to three
million hectares in Ukraine over the next 50
The initiative, which is part of the China 's food security program , is
to encourage more Chinese companies to farm abroad to create jobs and meet a growing
demand for corn at home.
Ding Li, a
senior researcher in agriculture at Anbound Consulting in Beijing, said that
the process of urbanisation has increased demand. China had slightly over two million hectares of farmland abroad, he said.
"So three million hectares would mean a very big project."
agreement signed in June between the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps
and KSG Agro, Ukraine's leading agricultural company, goes ahead, Ukraine should
initially provide China with at least 100,000 hectares in farmland in the
eastern Dnipropetrovs'k region.
known as Bingtuan, is a quasi-military organisation established in Xinjiang in
the 1950s to reclaim farmland and consolidate defences against the Soviet
Union, whose "granary" at that time was, ironically, the Ukraine, now among the top ten farm producing nations in the
China's domestic grain output had grown for 10 straight years, demand for
imported grain has also grown. Last year, it imported nearly 14 million tonnes
of cereal and cereal flours, an increase of more than 150 per cent from 2011.
The trend goes
against Beijing's ambition for the country to remain 90 per cent
self-sufficient in food production. Hence, the
Chinese government in recent years has tried to encourage Chinese companies to
invest in foreign agriculture.
Beidahuang Group, China's largest agribusiness, has already purchased 234,000 hectares to grow soya
bean and corn in Argentina, whilst Chongqing Grain paid US$ 375 million for
soya bean plantations in Brazil and US$ 1.2 billion for land in Argentina to grow
soya beans, corn and cotton.
Last month, the Ukrainian daily Kyiv
Post described the deal with China as an
"unprecedented foreign investment" in Ukraine's agriculture sector by the People's Republic, made possible thanks to a
loan from US$ 3 billion provided by the Export-Import Bank of China.