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NDRC: Rapeseed output to remain stable
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China's rapeseed output this year is expected to remain roughly the same as 2007 amid the country's efforts to boost oil crop planting, according to the China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Despite the snow disaster that hit the country starting in mid January, China has enlarged its rapeseed planting area by 700,000 hectares this winter. It is going to plant an additional 133,000 hectares this spring, in hopes of producing as much as 1.5 million tons of rapeseed, or 70,000 tons of seed oil.

About 3.26 million hectares of rapeseed in China had been damaged by the recent low temperatures and freezing weather. About 408,000 hectares were expected to have no yields at all.

China was striving to revive the planting of oil plants this year with an expected seed output of 47 million tons, said Wang Shoucong, Ministry of Agriculture planting management department deputy chief.

The nation has introduced a series of preferential policies to support rapeseed planting amid efforts to enhance its self-sufficiency ratio of oilseed.

In a bid to increase the planting area of oil crops, the country plans to expand soybean from 0.67 million hectares to 2.67 million hectares in the northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the three provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning in the northeast.

Subsidies will also be given to rapeseed planting in the Yangtze River Delta, a major rapeseed-producing area, according to the ministry.

In addition, agricultural insurance will be expanded to cover oil crop planting on a trial basis. Science and technology input will also be strengthened to support oil crop planting.

Such incentives are expected to boost domestic oilseed production and in turn, ease the supply tension and stabilize the oilseed market and prices.

China exported 147,000 tons of edible vegetable oil in the first 11 months of 2007, down 60.7 percent year on year. It imported 7.723 million tons, up 28.5 percent. Rapeseed oil exports dropped 84.4 percent while imports grew by 7.6 times.

(Xinhua News Agency February 20, 2008)

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