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Chinese snap up prime farm land in WA

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PERTH, Nov 30 AAP

November 30 2012, 11:45AM

Chinese agricultural giant Beidahuang Group is snapping up prime farm land in Western Australia's south as part of big plans to meet the Asian superpower's food needs.

An arm of the state-owned conglomerate, Heilongjiang Feng Agricultural, wants to buy and lease more than 100,000 hectares to grow grain for export to China.

The company has acquired some 30,000 hectares in the past month for $52 million as it moves to create a supply chain that operates independently of WA grain handler CBH.

Earlier this month, it bought land seized from one of the state's largest grain-growing families, the Joyces.

And last month, six Chinese investors paid $15 million for an olive oil company previously owned by two of the state's most prominent business families, the Kailises and the D'Orsognas.

Separately on Friday, the Pastoralist and Graziers Association welcomed the Senate passing a bill abolishing grain export regulator Wheat Exports Australia and its 22 cents a tonne levy, saying it should have immediate benefits for growers.