16 October 2014
China is to buy three million hectares of farmland in the Ukraine, setting the Eastern European nation up to be China’s largest overseas farming centre.
According to the South China Morning Post, under a 50-year plan signed between China’s Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and Ukrainian agricultural firm KSG Agro, the Ukraine will initially provide China with at least 100,000 hectares of farmland in the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region.
The land would mainly be used for growing crops and raising pigs and would eventually rise to 3 million hectares.
The project will include construction of agricultural buildings, GlobalMeatNews.com reported.
Part of the land acquired would be used to raise pigs (Wikimedia Commons)
Acquisition of the land is a part of China’s food security programme and a response to the government’s strategy of outsourcing the production of food to farms overseas.
Chinese experts have said China must expand its overseas farming to ensure sufficient food supplies because of its limited land and low productivity and as a result China has previously made agricultural investments in South America.
Agribusiness, Beidahuang, acquired 234,000 hectares of land in Argentina to grow soya bean and corn, and Chongqing Grain paid $375m for soya bean plantations in Brazil and $1.2bn for land in Argentina to grow soya beans, corn and cotton.
However, China’s expansion in overseas agriculture has raised concern. In 2012, Chinese investors bought up Australia’s biggest cotton farm and in June this year, politicians in Australia called for greater scrutiny over farm purchases by foreign buyers, Reuters reported.