SHANGHAI, Sept 22 China is to buy 3 million
hectares (7.4 million acres) of Ukrainian farmland, media said
on Sunday, which would make Ukraine China's largest overseas
farming centre as it strives to keep pace with rising food
China's official Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps
has signed an agreement with Ukrainian agricultural firm KSG
Agro, which would see Ukraine provide 100,000 hectares to China.
That would eventually rise to 3 million hectares, the South
China Morning Post said.
Chinese experts have said China must expand its overseas
farming to ensure sufficient food supplies because of its
limited land and low productivity.
China accounts for a fifth of the global population but only
nine percent of its land. Demand for food is rising as incomes
The 50-year plan was mainly aimed at growing crops and
raising pigs, the Hong Kong newspaper said, citing a statement
from the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC).
In 2009, China had a total of just over 2 million hectares
of farming land abroad, the newspaper said, quoting an
A spokesman at the government-linked XPCC said he was not
aware of the statement and did not immediately respond to a
request from Reuters for confirmation of the report.
China's overseas expansion in agriculture has raised some
concern. In June, Australian politicians called for greater
scrutiny over farm purchases by foreign buyers. Chinese
investors bought up Australia's biggest cotton farm in 2012.
China, which has aims to be 95 percent self-sufficient in
food, also suffers from fears over food safety after a series of
scandals ranging from melamine-tainted milk to toxic heavy
metals in rice and vegetables.
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan)