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24 September, 2013 17:57   ▪  

South China Morning Post: Ukraine to become China’s largest farmer

Ukraine will provide China with 3 million hectares of high quality farmland for agricultural purposes, South China Morning Post reports

"The move is a significant step in China's recent efforts to encourage domestic companies to farm overseas as China's food demand grows in pace with urbanization”, - Mandi Zuo, South China Morning Post reporter admits.

“Under the 50-year plan, Ukraine will initially provide China with at least 100,000 hectares - an area almost the size of Hong Kong - of high-quality farmland in the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, mainly for growing crops and raising pigs. The project will eventually expand to three million hectares”, - reports the newspaper.

Ding Li, a senior researcher in agriculture at Anbound Consulting in Beijing, said the deal was a big move for China compared with earlier overseas agriculture.

In April 2009, China had slightly over two million hectares of farmland abroad, he said. "So three million hectares would mean a very big project."

As it is written in South China Morning Post “The agreement was signed in June between the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and KSG Agro, Ukraine's leading agricultural company, XPCC said in a statement”

XPCC, also 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.

“This would make it China's biggest reported lease or purchase of farmland overseas. The Beidahuang Group, China's largest agribusiness, based in Heilongjiang province, and the Chongqing Grain Group have made similar moves to expand abroad. China has made substantial agricultural investments elsewhere, notably in South America. Beidahuang acquired 234,000 hectares to grow soya bean and corn in Argentina, while 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”, - says South China Morning Post.

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