BEIJING, CHINA — China plans to stabilize corn production and expand its soybean output in the new year to ensure grain security, the People’s Daily reported.

Safeguarding the supply security of grains and important agricultural products is a main priority, said Tang Renjian, minister of agriculture and rural affairs.

Concerns over food security are lingering as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts food supply chains and logistics across the world.

China produced less soybeans this year while corn production increased as farmers took advantage of better profitability.

The agriculture ministry also emphasized that it would ensure the stability of the grain planting area in China. It also said it would expand soybean oilseed production and restore planting areas in northeast China.

Tang called for abandoned land to be cultivated while maximizing the potential of intercropping to ensure stable grains acreage in 2022, People's Daily reported.

The minister's messages followed the two-day annual central rural work conference, where China’s central leadership delivered similar guidelines on stable grain production and oilseed expansion, according to a state media report.