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China to Invest Heavily in New Industries at Three Gorges
The Chinese Government will invest some 5 billion yuan (US$600 million) in the next few years to bolster the orange and animal husbandry industries at Three Gorges to create jobs for hundreds of thousands of resettled residents.

Qi Lin, deputy director of the Three Gorges Project Construction Committee under the State Council, said Tuesday that the state-bolstered industries have been jointly planned by the State Development Planning Commission and the ministries of agriculture and technology to improve the lives of residents who were displaced to make way for the construction of the world's largest hydroelectric power project and to develop a sustainable economy in the dam area.

More than 100,000 workers will be laid off from over 500 technically-backward firms which have ordered to shut down by the end of this year due to serious pollution emissions and outdated production technologies in the dam area of the Three Gorges Hydropower Project, said the project regulatory official.

Meanwhile, 80,000 rural residents will be moving into new resettlement townships this year, which will only add to the unemployment problem in the Three Gorges dam area.

Noting that the area is one of the ideal orange-cultivation areas in the world, Qi Lin said that of the total government appropriation, 3.8 billion yuan (US$46 million) will be allocated into developing the orange industry.

It will take eight to ten years to establish the industry with an annual processing capacity of 5 million tons of oranges, according to the plan.

China's largest private-owned juice producer, the Huiyuan Beverage and Food Co., signed a deal earlier this year to build a 1 million-ton orange processing line at Three Gorges, which will become the largest orange processing plant in Asia around the year 2010.

China's juice producers rely heavily on the imports of juice extract to produce fruit beverages, especially oranges, said Qi. The production line of Huiyuan will not only put an end with the dependence, but create a large number of jobs in the dam area.

Another 1.1 billion yuan (US$132 million) will be used to develop animal husbandry, which envisages breeding some 1 million cattle, 4 million sheep, 3.3 million rabbits and 5 million geese.

With the implementation of the "Grain for Green Project," Qi said, the largest areas of reclaimed farmland will be returned to pastures, woods and forests in the dam area, which will serve as adequate grazing fields for the animal husbandry industry.

In addition, a 100 million-yuan (US$12 million) meat processing plant built by China's largest meat processing company, the Shuanghui Group, will kick off production by the end of October this year.

Apart from the above two industries, the government will also lend substantial support to developing tourism, Qi added.

According to the forecast by local tourism authority, more than20 million tourists are likely to tour Three Gorges annually once the project is completed in 2009. In addition to visiting the world's highest dam, they will enjoy the orchards and fishing at the vicinity of the gigantic dam.

(Xinhua News Agency September 18, 2002)

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