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China to work off corn stockpile in three to five years: COFCO Biochemical executive

Farmers collect corn for a cargo at a farm in Gaocheng, Hebei province, China, in this September 30, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will work off its corn stockpile in the next three to five years, said an executive at one of the country’s top corn processing firms on Wednesday, as firms ramp up processing capacity to use up the old stocks of grain.

COFCO Biochemical, a listed subsidiary of the state-owned Chinese grains trader COFCO, for example, will boost its annual corn processing capacity to more than 10 million tonnes by 2020, up from 6 million tonnes a year now, said general manager Tong Yi on the sidelines of a conference.

China’s total corn processing capacity will hit 70 million tonnes a year by the end of 2018, up from more than 50 million tonnes currently, Tong said, as processors work through the mass of state corn reserves.

Beijing is sitting on close to 250 million tonnes of corn, according to experts, equal to more than a year of consumption, a legacy of its almost decade-long stockpiling system that ended last year.

The glut has prompted the central government to encourage farmers to reduce corn planting and switch to soybeans.

COFCO Biochemical uses corn to produce ethanol, citric acid, amino acids and distillers dried grains for animal feed, according to its website.

Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Writing by Dominique Patton; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Tom Hogue

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