Sunday, January 1, 2017

Countryside Clean-up on China's 2020 Agenda

China's President highlighted the importance of cleaning up and recycling agricultural waste in his plan to achieve a "well-off society" by 2020.

President Xi Jinping made the comments in his capacity as chairman of the central financial leadership group meeting on December 21, 2016. The Ministry of Agriculture's project to increase the rate of treatment and recycling of livestock and poultry waste in selected pilot counties was one of 165 major projects endorsed at the meeting. The main objective is to use waste to make biogas and natural gas as a source of rural energy and utilize the residual as organic fertilizer.

According to the August document announcing the Ministry of Agriculture's rural waste treatment pilot:
  • China annually produces 3.8 billion metric tons (mmt) of livestock and poultry waste, 
  • 60 million carcasses of dead and diseased animals and poultry are produced annually, of which only a small proportion are disposed of properly
  • 900 mmt of crop straw and stalks are produced, including 200 mmt that are not utilized
  • Farmers use 2 mmt of plastic sheeting annually, of which more than one-third is not recycled.
The document said the unrecycled and untreated rural waste is widespread, chaotic, creates a dirty countryside, and burning waste has a serious impact on the environment. Treating and utilizing the wastes meshes with the campaign to integrate crop and livestock production and to create a beautiful countryside.

The objectives for the pilot counties are:
  • Utilize 80 percent of livestock and poultry waste emitted by animals on "scale" farms
  • Dispose of all dead and diseased livestock carcasses in a safe manner
  • Utilize at least 85 percent of crop straw and stalks
  • Recycle or otherwise utlize at least 80% of plastic sheeting
  • Recycle empty pesticide packaging
The recycling program aims to jumpstart a market by encouraging and guiding companies to participate in recycling and waste treatment with government support. 30 pilot counties were to be chosen initially in 2016.

Pilot programs subsidizing organic fertilizer were started at various times this year. In Beijing's Mentougou the price of organic fertilizer was set at 570 yuan ($82) per metric ton. The government will subsidize 80 percent of the price. The basic subsidy is 200 yuan per metric ton in Shanghai, a county in Wenzhou, and two districts in Fujian. The subsidy is 300 yua per metric ton in Jinhua City of Zhejiang, and the subsidy is 350 yuan in Tianjian's Wujing District. There are limits on the amount that can be used on fruit orchards, grain and vegetable fields.

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