Sunday, March 20, 2016

China Exports Corn to Tajikistan

A 200-metric-ton shipment of corn was sent from China's Henan Province to Tajikistan in what appears to be a deal orchestrated to both promote the "one road-one belt" push into Central Asia and address the overstock of corn in China.

China has some of the world's highest corn prices, but no mention is made of the price paid by the Tajiks.

The shipment of corn is described as a demonstration project in a propaganda article posted on numerous news sites in China. The corn reportedly originated with a farmers "cooperative" in Henan's Taikang County. A Henan seed company supplied the farmers with seeds and inputs, and then bought the corn back for export to fulfill an agreement with Tajikistan (the company's web site features a photo of its leaders signing an agreement with a central asian country). The corn was inspected at an inspection and quarantine facility in Luohe City and then transferred to the Zhengzhou-Europe railroad for shipment to Tajikistan.

The project reflects priorities in the 13th five-year plan for nurturing new-type farms and hooking them up with trading companies. In explaining the rationale for the demonstration project, the local government in Taikang cites a series of documents promoting agricultural modernization and farmer cooperatives in the region. Local authorities selected 19 "family farmers" to act as models for agricultural modernization.

The article emphasizes that the corn shipment is aimed at addressing the difficulty of Henan farmers in selling crops and disposing of excessive grain inventories to boost farmers' incomes. A provincial agricultural official speaking at the National Peoples Congress earlier this month explained that although the province produces a lot of output, the quality is not high, farmers lack reliable markets, and the province's agriculture suffers from "surplus production disease."

This is described as the first shipment of agricultural commodities from Henan to Central Asia. According to the article, the agricultural sales to Tajikistan will be followed by sales of manufactured items.

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