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Reserves Ready to Be Used to Curb Pork Price Hike
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China has a national reserve of pigs and pork to stem the rapid rise in prices, meat supply authorities said on Friday.

The average wholesale price of pork in 36 major cities in China has risen 8.6 percent from last month to 14.5 yuan (US$1.89) per kilogram. It has increased 43.1 percent when compared to the same period last year, according to Ministry of Commerce statistics.

The price hike is due to an increase in the price of feed, and fewer pigs raised by farmers following a fall in pork prices in the past two years.

The price of corn, the main feed for pigs, has increased 19.7 percent in the first four months of this year. The market price is now 1.52 yuan (20 US cents) per kilogram.

Li Xizhen, an official at the department of market operation regulation of the Ministry of Commerce, said earlier this week, the ministry will "closely watch prices" at pork markets and "be ready to use national reserves if needed".

Hu Xin, deputy general manager of the China Merchandise Reserve Management Center, a state-owned enterprise responsible for national pork reserves, told China Daily yesterday: "The national herd of pigs and frozen pork is enough to meet the needs of the Ministry of Commerce in control measures."

The center issued an urgent notice to 239 national pork reserve units under its management across the country on May 24, requiring them to "guarantee the number of reserve pigs at farms and get ready for emergency usage".

China has a national reservation of daily necessities to meet emergencies. The government reserves cattle at livestock farms or meat in cold storage plants across the country at a specified quota every year. All meat reserves, especially pork, is replenished every four months after it is put on the market.

(China Daily May 26, 2007)

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