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Quality Chinese wheat to replace US imports

Date:2018-08-21 Source:Global Times

Chinese agricultural firms are in the process of promoting the cultivation of high-quality wheat to be used for brewing and bread-making, which currently accounts for 5 percent of the nation's overall wheat imports. 

Industry insiders have said that the move will gradually fill up China's market supply gap and reduce its reliance on wheat shipped from leading agricultural export nations like the US.

An analyst  stressed that as more high-quality wheat is produced on the heels of the program, China could effectively solve its chronic problem of overdependence on specific types of wheat imports. 

State-owned Sinochem Group has already developed wheat seeds that contain strong gluten and are of high quality in accordance with government guidelines. 

The company also "launched a program last year to provide such wheat seeds to farmers and encourage them to cultivate on a large scale," Song Weibo, vice president of Sinochem Group agriculture division, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

To facilitate the program, the company has devised "a price bargaining tool," allowing farmers to negotiate on wheat purchase prices rather than adopting the previous one-size-fit-all approach of buying all kinds of wheat at minimum purchase prices, Song added. 

"The output of high-quality wheat is not as large as general wheat, so providing preferential purchase prices and buying the crops in bulk would spark farmers' motivation to cultivate that wheat," Song explained. 

Furthermore, agricultural firms have also started to play the role of agencies during the process, linking the demand from downstream flour processing plants directly with farmers' cultivation efforts, according to Song. 

"So far, Sinochem has signed framework agreements with major downstream flour processing enterprises, and demand for high-quality wheat flowing toward farmers is now quite stable," he added.

In 2017, the US exported $300 million worth of wheat to China, accounting for 4 percent of its total exports to the country, according to  the Farm Credit Administration.

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