China makes 10 billion yuan available to subsidise grain growersFILE PHOTO: A farmer plants seeds in a corn field at a farm in Gaocheng, Hebei province, China, September 30, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

BEIJING— China’s central government has made available 10 billion yuan (US$1.49 billion) for “one-off” subsidies to support individuals and companies involved in grain cultivation and production, according to a statement published on Sunday (May 22) by the country’s Ministry of Finance.

The subsidies aim to support grain growers during the summer and autumn harvest and sowing period, to alleviate any impact of rising costs and to “further mobilise farmers’ enthusiasm” for cultivating grain, the statement said.

The announcement comes at a time when China’s farmers are grappling with high fertiliser prices, which have soared globally since last year.

The upcoming wheat harvest in China will be closely watched after heavy rain last fall left crops in a poor state before winter.

Beijing has refocused on grain security, a top policy priority that has become increasingly prominent since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020 and even more so since the start of the war in grain-producing powerhouse Ukraine in late February.