China Buying Ukrainian Corn For First Time

BEIJING, China -- Ukrland Farming, Ukraine's biggest agro-industrial company, will export corn to China, the world's largest consumer of the cereal.

Ukrainian corn is selling below US market prices.

The company plans to sell between 500,000 tons and 700,000 tons of corn to China from 2012 to 2013, with the first delivery expected to be made by the end of the year, Ukrland Farming told Xinhua on Friday.

The purchase will mark the first time that China has bought corn from Ukraine, known as Europe's "great breadbasket" for its rich black soil, which favors grain production.

On Monday, the company signed a cooperation memorandum with China Oil & Foodstuffs Co, the Asian country's largest food manufacturer, over the corn exports, it said.

The move came after China's quality authorities in November signed a protocol with Ukraine that allows China to buy Ukrainian corn products.

Purchasing corn from Ukraine will help diversify China's sources of corn, as it relies on the United States for about 99 percent of its imports of the cereal.

There has been a tight supply of corn in the Chinese market, said Wu Li, an agriculture analyst at Beijing-based China Galaxy Securities.

He estimated annual imports would hit 15 million tons within the next 10 years. 

Customs data showed China imported 1.75 million tons of corn in 2011.

Its corn imports are expected to reach 5 million tons this year.

Source: China Daily