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UPDATED: 13:44, August 26, 2004
China becomes world's biggest soybean importer
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Overall soybean production in recent years and a rising demand have turned China into the world's No. 1 soybean importer, according to a recent symposium on soybean research and production held in the national capital.

China's current annual demand for soybean is placed at 22 million tons, but the country's actual annual output of the crop hovered around approximately 15 million tons, said Chang Ruzhen, chairman of the Soybean Committee of China Crops Society on Thursday.

With a history of more than 4,000 years in soybean growing, China scaled a production peak in 1930s when it turned out 90 percent of the oil-bearing crop on the world market.

Nevertheless, China was overtaken by the United States, Brazil and Argentina and ranked the fourth in the world in term of soybean sown acreage and output in 1980s. The country produced 16.3 million tons of soybean but imported another 20.7 million tons of the crop last year.

The Chinese government has resorted to a range of measures to boost soybean production and raise sown acreage of the crop. Theseinclude a scheme of reinvigorating soybean production in northeastChina, a leading grain production base in the country.

The scheme has resulted in a positive outcome, with marked improvement in quality, and increased output and sown acreage.

Source: Xinhua

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