Fri, 09 May 2008
Beijing (ANTARA News/XFN-Asia) - The Chinese government may encourage domestic companies to buy farmland abroad, particularly in Africa and South America, to help guarantee food security, the Financial Times reported.

Beijing has similar policies to boost offshore investment by state-owned banks, manufacturers and oil companies, but agricultural investment has been limited to a few small projects, the newspaper noted.

Citing an official close to the deliberations, the newspaper said the proposal was likely to be adopted. If approved, however, it could face intense international opposition because of surging global food prices and deforestation fears, the newspaper added.

"There should be no problem for this policy to be approved. The problem might come from foreign governments who are unwilling to give up large areas of land," the newspaper quoted the official as saying.

China has about 40 pct of the world's farmers but just nine pct of the world's arable land, according to the newspaper.

Soybean, bananas, vegetables and edible oil crops would be the focus of policy support for Chinese companies buying land overseas, the newspaper added. (*)



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