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Plan puts end to pigs in delta
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No new pig farms will be allowed to be built near waterways in the Pearl River Delta, as Guangdong seeks to protect its natural resources and develop large-scale pig-rearing bases in less populated areas, the provincial government said yesterday.

The blueprint for pig farming for 2008-20, drafted by three government departments, also said rearing pigs will be prohibited in areas that are home to sources of drinking water.

Regional governments are being urged to make use of hills and wasteland for pig farms, to avoid occupying arable land.

The document follows the ban imposed in November on pig farming in Dongguan, a manufacturing hub in the delta. Such farming will be prohibited from next year.

In defense of its ruling, the Dongguan government said the move was required to reduce waste and pollution. The volume of waste generated by 750,000 pigs is equal to that created by 4 million people, it said.

He Xia, a press officer with the provincial agriculture department, said the new, province-wide, plan is also designed to increase the supply of live pigs to meet demand in Guangdong and also in Hong Kong and Macao.

"The province has set a target to raise 45.74 million live pigs a year by 2012, to meet 75 percent of the local demand, and 52.45 million by 2020, to meet 85 percent of the demand," she said.

"It also aims to recycle 90 percent of the waste from pig farming by encouraging farmers to set up methane gas projects to convert dung into manure."

Cao Guoqing, a pig farm owner in Dongguan, said he is considering relocating his business to his hometown of Shanwei in the east of Guangdong province.

"There are two reasons why I'm thinking about moving away," Cao told China Daily yesterday.

"The Dongguan ban started me thinking, but the latest announcement by the provincial government listed my hometown as one of the regions where pig farming is encouraged, as it has large areas of barren land.

"I'm looking forward to the long-term development of my business and some preferential policies," he said.

Provincial authorities have said pig farming will be encouraged in the east, west, north and center of Guangdong, which have large areas of barren land.

Ding Li, a researcher with the Guangdong academy of social sciences, said the plan, as well as being environmentally friendly, makes good commercial sense.

"The plan will make room for the Pearl River Delta region to develop more value-added industries," he said.

(China Daily June 24, 2008)

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