Enhancing the competitiveness of soybean growers: a case study of Heilongjiang, China
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This paper examines the current situation of the soybean industry and soybean growers in Heilongjiang Province, China. Heilongjiang is the largest soybean producing province in China; its soybean output accounts for 40% of the total soybean yield of China. Despite Heilongjiang’s dominance in the soybean market, it still faces risks posed by global market fluctuations. This is mainly due to the fact that China’s soybean processing industry is essentially controlled by a monopoly of producers from foreign businesses, as well as due to the importation of a vast amount of soybeans, which threatens the development of the soybean industry in Heilongjiang Province (China’s Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 2012). The aim of this study is threefold. Firstly, this study will summarise the soybean growers’ production and costs, in order to identify the weaknesses in the soybean growers’ production and the industry. Using the model of Porter’s Five Forces (Michael, 1979), a framework which seeks to define the degree of market attractiveness, the competitiveness of the soybean industry in Heilongjiang will be analysed. In relation to the competitiveness of the province in the international market, current research states that the double-decked structure of the rural economy in China has exposed its market shortcomings. Secondly, this paper aims to find ways of enhancing the competitiveness of the soybean industry in Heilongjiang. To do so, the experience of the soybean industry in the United States will be summarised and its main industry advantages will be introduced. Thus, combined with the competitive status of the soybean industry of Heilongjiang, this study seeks to illustrate the gaps in the Heilongjiang soybean industry market. In addition, this paper will analyse the potential for co-operation, new information, and future market opportunities, so that Heilongjiang can learn from this internationally based soybean market comparison. Lastly, this study aims to explore how to improve the competitiveness of the Heilongjiang soybean growers, not only in relation to the important issue of agricultural development in the province, but also as a vital component of soybean production and China’s agricultural security. Comparison the lack of soybean competition in Heilongjiang with the experience of the United States, including government support, and analytical data will be drawn upon to enable this paper to present a comprehensive strategy to enhance the competitiveness of the Heilongjiang soybean industry.