Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called for measures to boost pig farming as short supply has led to continued pork price hikes, causing concerns among consumers and the government over a possible spillover effect on inflation.
Wen urged local governments to leave no stone unturned in enhancing the enthusiasm of pig breeders when addressing an executive conference of the State Council on Wednesday.
The country's pig production fell dramatically in recent months on pig breeders' dampened enthusiasm due to rising feedstuff costs and low price in past few years, and also the massive pig culling after the outbreak of blue-ear disease in some regions.
The short supply of live pigs kept driving the pork price higher. The wholesale price of pork in June represented a 74.6-percent surge from the same month last year.
Wen said it's of great importance to increase pig production, which would help stabilize the pork price and satisfy the meat demand of the public.
He called on local governments to deliver the subsidies for breeding female pigs to farmers arranged by the central budget "as soon as possible".
In order to beef up disease control, Wen said immunization against major pig epidemics shall be provided to farmers free of charges, and that subsidies shall be offered to farmers if their pigs have to be slaughtered for disease control.
The premier said local administrative chiefs shall be held responsible for pork supply in their areas, and that all unreasonable restrictions on pig farming shall be abolished.
Local governments shall also increase or pay allowances for lower-income families and college students to ensure their living standards are not adversely affected by the higher pork prices, Wen said.
(Xinhua News Agency July 29, 2007)