China's top corn and soy grower, the northeast province of Heilongjiang, plans to raise total grains output by 8 percent in 2012 through an expansion of its corn acreage and a paring back of its soy land, according to local agriculture officials.

Heilongjiang produced 15 percent, 26.76 million metric tons, of China's total corn output in 2011 — equal to the total harvest in Argentina. The province cut its soy acreage by 10 percent in 2011, reducing output by 7.5 percent, or 5.4 million metric tons. 

Companies are looking instead to invest in overseas land for food security purposes, according to reports. The province's Beidahuang State Farm Group has started planting soybeans on 13,000 hectares of farmland in Argentina and may ship the soy back to China, and the company plans to cultivate 234,000 hectares in coming years to grow corn and other crops. It has also invested in overseas farming in Cuba, Russia and Venezuela.