The mainland's single largest vegetable producer, Chaoda Modern Agriculture (Holdings), is stepping up investment in its farm land after a 63.8 per cent rise in net earnings to 659.42 million yuan in the six months to December. Executive vice-president Gordon Wang Xiaogang said yesterday about one billion yuan to 1.2 billion yuan would be ploughed into expanding its production bases in each of the next three years. This was up from an annual outlay of 800 million yuan to one billion yuan. The investment, which aims to expand the firm's farm size by 20 per cent to 25 per cent annually to more than 20,000 hectares, was spurred mainly by a 23 per cent jump in turnover to 1.05 billion yuan in the half-year period. The focus of the expansion would be on production bases in Zhangzhou in Fujian, Beijing and its surrounding regions, Jiangsu and Hebei, Mr Wang said. The average selling price of Chaoda's produce remained the same at 2.41 yuan per kg. Excluding a one-off gain of 150 million yuan from a new valuation of the group's biological assets, the group's net earnings grew 26 per cent. Earnings per share were 41.2 per cent higher at 28.1 fen. No interim dividend was recommended. Profit from operations jumped 59.46 per cent to 640.05 million yuan. Sales of produce grew 27 per cent to 982 million yuan, accounting for 90 per cent of the group's total sales.