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China to pump 5.15 billion yuan into agriculture
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New investments in rural infrastructure totaling 5.15 billion yuan (US$750 million) have been announced by the Ministry of Agriculture.

3 billion yuan (US$440 million) on rural methane projects

3 billion yuan (US$440 million) will be spent on rural methane projects. The plan calls for household biogas to be provided to 2.25 million families in 1,212 counties; more than 30,000 biogas service outlets will be built in 1,496 counties.

Household biogas projects will be concentrated in areas south of the Yellow River. It is estimated the plan will stimulate additional investment of 7.2 billion yuan (US$1.05 billion) from local governments and private sources, meaning a total increase in demand of 10.2 billion yuan (US$1.49 billion); the projects use 6.5 million tons of cement, 0.5 million tons of steel and 17,000 agricultural vehicles.

The projects will benefit over 2 million rural households, and make savings of 1.15 billion yuan (US$168 million) in fuel and fertilizer costs. More than 100,000 jobs for biogas technicians will be created, resulting in increased income of about 1.2 billion yuan (US$176 million) among farmers.

800 million yuan (US$117.13 million) on high-quality grain production

800 million yuan (US$117.13 million) will be spent developing 226,667 hectares of farmland in 272 counties. It is estimated that the plan will stimulate further local investment of 350 million yuan (US$51.24 million) making a total of 1.15 billion yuan (US$168 million). The project will use 680,000 tons of cement and 14,300 tons of steel.

The project will require 5.1 million additional working days, which will increase incomes by 400 million yuan (US$58.56 million) for technicians. If each hectare of farmland produces the target 750 kilograms of grain per year, food production will increase by 170 million kilograms, and farm incomes will grow by nearly 300 million yuan (US$43.92 million).

700 million yuan (US$102.48 million) on prevention of animal epidemics

700 million yuan (US$102.48 million) will be spent on 9,674 township veterinary stations in 2,097 counties. It is estimated that additional local and private investment will amount to 267 million yuan (US$39.09 million) making a total of 967 million yuan (US$141.58 million) in increased demand. Technicians’ income will rise by 174 million yuan (US$25.47 million).

500 million yuan (US$73.2 million) on quality inspection system

500 million yuan (US$73.2 million) will be spent establishing a quality inspection system for agricultural products. It will stimulate further local investment of 165.4 million yuan (US$24.22 million) and increase overall demand by 660 million yuan (US$96.63 million).

150 million yuan (US$21.96 million) to repair dangerous buildings

150 million yuan (US$21.96 million) will be spent building 1 million square meters of housing space for low-income farm residents, and will improve housing conditions for 20,000 farm workers. It will stimulate further investment of 1.2 billion yuan (US$176 million) from local governments and the farm workers themselves, increasing overall national demand by over 1.35 billion yuan (US$198 million).

It is estimated that 599,000 families are still living in dangerous buildings in Heilongjiang, Guangdong, Hainan and Yunnan. Improving their housing conditions will bring about a major improvement in social welfare.

(China.org.cn by Wang Wei, November 18, 2008)

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