Open Access
Issue
OCL
Volume 23, Number 6, November-December 2016
Article Number D603
Number of page(s) 5
Section Dossier: Oil crops and supply chain in Asia / La filière oléagineuse en Asie
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/ocl/2016046
Published online 18 November 2016

© T. Yang and Y. Zheng, published by EDP Sciences, 2016

Licence Creative Commons
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Total oil crops market share

Though total oil crop production remained broadly constant during 2011–2014, the total area under cultivation fell from 27.02 million hectare (Mha) to 24.90 Mha, implying an increase in average yield (Wu, 2013). In northern China, soybean is the main oil crop. Its planted area and total production has declined during the last five years: by 2014, soybean’s market share was 20.2%, a fall of 3.7% compared with 2011. Rapeseed cultivation and market share are increasing year by year, from 27.3% and 22.2% in 2010 to 30.5%, 24.6% respectively in 2014. The share of oil-crop land under peanut cultivation has slightly increased, and the production has followed a steady upward trend in the last four years (see Tabs. 13).

Table 1

Oilseed cultivation areas in China (Mha).

Table 2

Oilseeds production in China (Mt).

Table 3

Yield per unit area of oilseeds (kg/ha).

Table 4

Oilseed production in Mt in top three provinces (2014).

Soybean

China ranks as the 4th leading soybean producing nation, accounting for 8% of the total global production. 70% of the soybean is for edible oil use, with the remainder for food and soybean protein purpose, etc. Chinese domestic soybeans are all non-genetically modified. The primary soybean producing region is Heilongjiang province, located in the northeastern part of the country, 5.85 million tons (Mt) of soybeans were produced in Heilongjiang in 2011, accounting for 40% of the country’s entire soybean production (Tab. 4 and Fig. 1). However, the scale and total production have been decreasing year on year mainly in response to cheap soybean imports. Small scale farm size and poor agronomic techniques also resulted in soybean yield decrease, and these factors are unlikely to change in the near future (Zhu, 2013). It has been estimated that in Heilongjiang province the profit on soybean per hectare was 1590 RMB/ha, far below corn (4140 RMB/ha) and rice (6000 RMB/ha) (OECD, 2013). In general, the rapid growth of domestic demand and the aforementioned reasons could lead to a heavy reliance on imported seeds. If the current situation is any guide, soybean cultivation and production will continue to decrease in the future.

Rapeseed

China is the world’s largest rapeseed producing country and biggest consumer of rapeseed oil. Total production accounts for 30% of global production. Unlike soybean, 95% of rapeseed is used for crushing. The rapeseed cultivation area is mainly distributed across the Yangtze River valley (Tab. 4 and Fig. 2). Rapeseed is grown in winter in these places in order to avoid disturbing the usual cultivation of grain and cotton. Rapeseed cultivation can improve land utilization, thereby providing a valuable social and economic benefit. For these reasons, rapeseed cultivation and production are likely to increase steadily in the future years.

thumbnail Fig. 1

Distribution of soybean production in China (data based on last 3 years average production) (Source: Bureau of Statistics of each Chinese province).

thumbnail Fig. 2

Distribution of rapeseed production in China (data based on last 3 years’ average production) (Source: Bureau of Statistics of each Chinese province).

thumbnail Fig. 3

Distribution of peanut production in China (data based on last 3 years average production) (Source: Bureau of Statistics of each Chinese province

Table 5

Rice cultivation area and production in China.

Peanut

Peanut is a traditional oil crop in China. In 2014, the total planted area was 4.60 Mha, accounting for 18% of the total cultivation area devoted to oil crops. Peanut production accounted for 27% of the country’s total oil crop production and 40.8% of global peanut production. Peanut has broad utilization possibilities in China: 50% goes to crushing and the remainder for food use; roasted, boiled and candied peanut are popular food items. Strong domestic demand and favorable prices make peanut a favorite crop for farmers. Shandong and Henan are the two main peanut producing provinces in China (Tab. 4 and Fig. 3).

Other oil crops (sunflower, sesame, rice bran)

Sunflower seed oil is regarded as a premium edible oil for its high content of unsaturated fatty acids and natural tocopherols. In 2014, the total area in China under sunflower cultivation was 0.95 Mha, and total production reached 2.49 Mt. Sunflower likes a sunny, warm and dry summer during the seeds’ ripening. It is therefore mainly planted in western China: Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang accounted for 40% and 20% respectively of the total production. Sunflower seeds can be classified into two kinds: one is for oil crushing only, with high oil content and dark appearance, the other is bigger with white and black color, and usually serves as a popular snack. In China 50–55% of the sunflower seeds are used for crushing, the remainder for food use (or example bread, bread sticks, and some health snacks).

The use of sesame oil for seasoning in China has been a tradition for centuries. China has for years been one of the largest sesame producing countries: it normally accounts for 10% of the world’s total cultivated area; production accounts for 15% of the global total. Sesame production varies according to weather and policies, but the total annual production was kept between 0.6 Mt to 0.64 Mt in 2011–2014.

China is the world biggest producer of rice, with an annual output of about 200 Mt (http://www.chinagrain.gov.cn). As a by-product of rice processing, rice bran production capacity was about 13 Mt (Tab. 5). Rice bran has a high oil content (20%).

Table 6

Oils consumed as food (Mt) in China.

Table 7

Main imports (Mt) of oilseeds in 2008–2014.

thumbnail Fig. 4

Comparison of domestic oilseeds production and imported oilseeds (Source: National Bureau of Statistics of China (www.stats.gov.cn).

Future trends of oil crops production in China

Changes in dietary habits, urbanization and rising per-capita income have led to a more than one million ton increase in demand for vegetable oil in 2015 compared with 2014. About 60% of Chinese edible oil comes from imported oils and oilseeds (Tabs. 6 and 7 and Fig. 4). That situation and trend are unlikely to change in the near future. China will promote the stable development of grain production, and guarantee national food security by enhancing the productivity of the main grain production areas, and by improving yield, quality and efficiency (Li, 2004). Diminutions in the share of arable land and concern for the security of edible oil supplies is driving a change in structure of land use and improvements in the efficiency of oilseed production in China.

References

  • Li. 2004. Grain Issue in China. CNGRAIN, http://english.cngrain.com/
  • OECD. 2013. Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2013. OECD countries and Emerging Economies, Paris 2013. (In the text)
  • Wu L. 2013. Chinese Grain Supply Demand and Projection: Regional Perspective, manuscript submitted for FAO. Technical Cooperation Project TCP/CPR/3304 “Strengthening of China’s Capacity in Agricultural Market Monitoring and Agricultural Outlook”. (In the text)
  • Zhu X. 2013. China’s Current Agricultural Policy Review and Applications of the Aglinkcosimo model under Chinese Circumstances, manuscript submitted for FAO Technical Cooperation Project TCP/CPR/3304 “Strengthening of China’ Capacity in Agricultural Market Monitoring and Agricultural Outlook”. (In the text)

Cite this article as: Tiankui Yang, Yan Zheng. State and trends of oil crops production in China. OCL 2016, 23(6) A603.

All Tables

Table 1

Oilseed cultivation areas in China (Mha).

Table 2

Oilseeds production in China (Mt).

Table 3

Yield per unit area of oilseeds (kg/ha).

Table 4

Oilseed production in Mt in top three provinces (2014).

Table 5

Rice cultivation area and production in China.

Table 6

Oils consumed as food (Mt) in China.

Table 7

Main imports (Mt) of oilseeds in 2008–2014.

All Figures

thumbnail Fig. 1

Distribution of soybean production in China (data based on last 3 years average production) (Source: Bureau of Statistics of each Chinese province).

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 2

Distribution of rapeseed production in China (data based on last 3 years’ average production) (Source: Bureau of Statistics of each Chinese province).

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 3

Distribution of peanut production in China (data based on last 3 years average production) (Source: Bureau of Statistics of each Chinese province

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 4

Comparison of domestic oilseeds production and imported oilseeds (Source: National Bureau of Statistics of China (www.stats.gov.cn).

In the text