The government encourages co-operation and alliances among animal husbandry enterprises to cope with escalating global competition expected in the industry as a result of the country's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), a top official said yesterday.
Moreover, market supervision, a major role of government, will be gradually adjusted and performed by industry associations, said Zhang Baowen, vice-minister of agriculture, at a ceremony to celebrate the debut of the China Association of Animal Husbandry yesterday.
The organization combines associations representing grasses, pig farming, dog raising and the poultry industry, which were disbanded prior to the establishment of the animal husbandry association.
The launch of the association is expected to help strengthen mutual co-operation and offer support to more and more agricultural firms now expanding their operations, Zhang said.
China's output of meat, eggs and milk has shown a steady annual growth of more than 10 per cent in the past 20 years.
In 2000, the country's meat and egg output reached 61.2 million tons and 22.4 million tons respectively, ranking first in the world.
However, the country's animal husbandry industry has been of small scale with few giant enterprises available in the field.
"That is partly because of the lack of a uniformed industry association," said Chen Yaochun, the newly elected president of the animal husbandry association.
Chen said his association will push co-operation and alliances among animal husbandry enterprises and fuel international exchanges.
China's entry into the WTO seriously impacts its fragile agriculture industry, especially the production of grain, cotton and oil. In this situation, labor-intensive animal husbandry techniques will be vital for Chinese farmers to increase their income after the WTO entry.
Despite its huge output, however, efficiency and exports of China's animal husbandry industry are very low.
For example, China's poultry exports account for only 3 per cent of the total output, which ranked second in the world last year.
A major reason is that Chinese standards for meat quality, quarantine and veterinary inspections are not yet fully in line with world standards.
(China Daily December 10, 2001)