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Local Gov't Urged to Ensure Pork Supply
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The General Office of the State Council has urged local governments at all levels to ensure the continuity of pork supplies amid concerns over soaring pork prices.

"A proper price hike in pork could help increase farmers' incomes and encourage them to raise pigs, but excessive price rises will affect low-income residents," said a notice issued by the office.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, in April live pigs nationwide were priced 71.3 percent higher than a month earlier, and pork 29.3 percent higher.

In Beijing, the pork price went up more than 30 percent in recent days, while wholesale prices in Shanghai hit 16 yuan (US$2.1) per kilogram, the highest in a decade, up 20 percent month-on-month.

The notice required city mayors to take charge of the pork price hike and make better regional cooperation to ensure a steady supply of meat.

Local governments should monitor pig production and focus on the quality, price and quarantine inspection of pork to maintain an orderly market, said the notice.

Farmers who raise sows should be offered subsidies and low-income families should be given relatively higher social insurance, said the notice.

The State Council also called on the Ministry of Railway and of Communications to give priority to transporting pigs.

"Pig raisers made losses over the past couple years and were reluctant to raise pigs. This led to a marginal decline in the pig population this year," said Xu Lianzhong, a senior economist with the price supervision center under the National Development and Reform Commission.

The outbreak of blue ear disease, also known as Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), which caused many pig deaths and culling was an immediate cause of a short supply, said Xu.

(Xinhua News Agency May 30, 2007)

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