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China nearly doubles 2017 subsidy for farmers to rotate crops

By Dominique Patton and Hallie Gu

BEIJING, June 20 (Reuters) - China will spend almost twice
as much this year on subsidies to encourage farmers in the
northeast to reduce corn plantings as it intensifies its push to
rebalance grain stocks.

The country will issue 2.56 billion yuan ($374.95 million)
in funds to pay farmers subsidies to rotate their corn plantings
with other crops every other year as well as to leave some land
fallow, the Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday.

The funds are 78 percent higher than last year, and the
acreage targeted by the subsidies is double last year's area at
around 800,000 hectares.

China started giving out the subsidies last year under an
overhaul of its grains policy under which it had paid farmers
artificially high prices for their corn.

That policy left it with a stockpile of 250 million tonnes
of corn, more than one year's worth of consumption.

The money will go mainly to farmers in the northeast where
soybeans had been planted in the past and to areas unsuited to
corn production.

The area covered under the subsidies includes 667,000
hectares where growers must rotate between corn and other crops
like soybeans and 133,000 hectares that must lie fallow.

The area targeted for the rotation subsidy represents 1.9
percent of the 35.4 million hectares planted with corn this
year.

Farmers also get 'producer' subsidies for major crops, and
some provinces plan to offer higher subsidies for soybeans than
corn this year

($1 = 6.8276 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Dominique Patton and Hallie Gu; Editing by
Christian Schmollinger)

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