Perhaps the most significant deal made in decades in the global agriculture industry was concluded in February this year, when the Chinese state-owned chemical company ChemChina clinched a $43bn takeover of the Swiss-based seed and chemical company Syngenta. The deal is the largest-ever outward investment by a Chinese company, as well as the single-most costly agriculture transaction in history.

For many, the ChemChina-Syngenta tie-up is just the latest example of the shift in economic power towards the east, but the real significance of the deal may be what it tells us about food security policy in China.