Ding Guangwei (L) the supervisor for Guangwei Agricultural Machinery Cooperative, speaks with CGTN in one of his soybean farms in Suihua's Beilin District. (CGTN Photo)
September 23, 2018 marks China's first ever harvest festival, which is dedicated to farmers and their hard work. In northeastern China, farmers are busy planting and tending to soybean crops to reduce China's high reliance on imported soybeans. And they say a good local soybean harvest awaits.
Local farmer Ding Guangwei told CGTN that farmers are more willing to grow soybeans this year with new government allowances of 500 dollars per hectare for growing soybeans.
At Ding's farm in the northeastern Chinese city of Suihua, Heilongjiang Province, over 150 hectares worth of soybeans have been planted, a 35-percent increase from last year. And each hectare of Ding's farm can yield 3.5 tons of soybeans, which is much more than in years past.
Also, at least three tons of soybeans per hectare are expected across Suihua.
While China's main soybean growing areas like Suihua are seeing a bigger harvest for legumes this year, domestically grown soybeans still have a long way to go to compete with imported ones.
The country only produced some 15 million tons of soybeans domestically last year.
The good news though is that as companies replace their demand for American soybeans with domestic ones amid the ongoing trade tensions, the inventory of domestic soybeans has been decreasing, making room for new harvests and presenting a positive sign encouraging soybean farmers.
Chinese firms have halted their orders for American soybeans — an estimated 30 million tons of them. That's over twice China's own soybean production. The huge demand for soybean imports comes with more competitive prices overseas, namely from Russia and South America.
"Domestic soybeans in fact are pretty good, especially those grown in northeastern China. But due to cheaper prices of soybean imports, domestic soybeans are still not favored by the market," said Zhang Shuchun, a national agricultural technology extension researcher and also in charge of agricultural technology extension in Suihua's Beilin District.
Zhang said improving the quality of domestic soybeans such as protein and oil content can help China gravitate more towards domestic soybeans.