China grants more subsidies to soy farmers as it cuts corn stocks

BEIJING (Reuters) - Soybean farmers in China’s northeastern provinces will get higher subsidies than corn producers this year as Beijing continues a policy set last year to reduce its huge corn stockpile, the government said on Tuesday.

Stocks of corn in China reached around 250 million tonnes in 2017, a legacy from its near-decade long stockpiling system that was only abandoned in 2016.

Beijing will give more subsidies to soybean growers than corn farmers in Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, and Inner Mongolia provinces, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a document released on its website.

China included cutting corn acreage and lifting soybean acreage in a five-year plan issued in 2016, part of the country’s efforts to overhaul the world’s largest agriculture sector.

Farmers will also get subsidies from the government to rotate their plantings as well as to leave some land fallow. Such subsidies will cover 30 million mu (2 million hectares) of land this year, the document said, without giving further details on the subsidies.

China started giving subsidies to encourage farmers in the northeast to rotate their corn plantings with other crops in 2016 as part of a push to rebalance grain stocks.

Beijing will also give subsidies to farmers to purchase agriculture machinery and equipment in areas including irrigation and planting.

Those treating animal waste, using organic fertilizer in growing vegetables and fruits, and recycling land films will also receive subsidies from the government, according to the document.

Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Manolo Serapio Jr.