China's Cabinet concerned over sharp rise in pork prices

CHINA - China's leaders are trying to calm public concern over sharp price rises for pork, the country's staple meat. It's ordering local governments to ensure adequate supplies and help low-income families.
calendar icon 30 May 2007
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"Production and distribution of pork and its products relates to the lives of the masses and influences the overall situation," China's Cabinet, the General Office of the State Council, said in a statement carried on the front pages of official newspapers Wednesday.

High-level concern over the price rises was signaled by Premier Wen Jiabao's visits last weekend to pork producers and markets, when he pledged an official response would be forthcoming.

State media mentioned the possibility of activating a strategic frozen pork and live pig reserve which the government maintains to guard against severe shortages, although the Cabinet's circular, issued after a meeting Tuesday, did not directly address such a move.

Urban Chinese eat more pork than any other meat, an average of 19.2 kilograms (42 pounds) per person in 2006 according to official statistics.

Prices of the meat rose by an average of 8.6 percent in April over the previous month, and were up 43.1 percent over April 2006, according to the Commerce Ministry.

Source: The China Post

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