Soybean imports to be restricted (2)

08:34, April 01, 2010      

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Times that the dominance of foreign soybean-oil suppliers in the Chinese market makes it harder for Chinese soybean farmers to survive.

The Agriculture Commission of Heilongjiang Province announced recently that the planting area for soybeans in the province is expected to reach 65 million mu (10.6 million acres), down 5.6 million from a year earlier.

Most imports are genetically modified (GM) soybeans, which are cheaper than non-GM soybeans and can have higher yields, and GM soybean s are eating up the share of domestic non-GM soybean.

Imported soybeans are priced at 3,300 yuan ($483) per ton, while domestic ones are priced at 3,700 yuan ($541). Domestic oil refineries have to bear the economic losses if using domestic soybeans.

"The lower price, pushed down by excessive imports, dampens farmers' incentive to plant soybeans," Wang said. "To make it worse, the government's procuring procedures are often so complicated that farmers find it hard to find an effective channel to sell their produce."

He said he wished the government could reduce soybean imports in the harvest season from October to April.

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