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    Home >> auto >> Article
    Pig breeder profiting by protecting unique species
    From:ChinaDaily   |  2019-12-27 09:42

    Zhao Bo, who operates a pig conservation farm in Qingdao, Shandong province, has found that protecting a unique local species can also be profitable.

    His stock of Licha pig-a locally bred black pig-has been selling for more than 100 yuan ($14.30) per kilogram, about twice the price of the ordinary pork produced by intensive farming, due to its unique flavor and texture.

    What makes Zhao even happier is that none of the 4,000 pigs in the conservation farm has been infected by African swine fever, which has hit some nearby farms.

    "We were afraid that African swine fever outbreaks may wipe out the whole species of Licha pig, which is only found in this area," he said. "This has reaffirmed that the Licha pig is highly resistant to diseases, which also adds to its commercial value."

    Like the Licha pig, many other indigenous livestock and poultry species in China have been under improved protection in recent years, and market-oriented utilization of the species is expected to accelerate, along with conservation.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said over the past year it has collected genetic samples of additional 22 locally bred livestock species across China, including the Yushan pig in Jiangxi province and Jinnan ox in Shanxi province, to better preserve the species.

    As of mid-December, more than 560 local livestock and poultry species in China had been included in the national species conservation program, with more than 670,000 samples of their genetic material being properly preserved, according to the ministry.

    Although traditionally cultivated and raised for meat in China, many local animal species have been sidelined in recent years by animals introduced from overseas that are more productive and suitable for large-scale intensive farming.

    Some species have declined so fast that they face the danger of extinction. For example, there has been a sharp drop in the number of Chenghua pig-a stout-bodied, short-legged animal with a higher fat content originating from Sichuan province-which is particularly suitable for the local specialty, twice-cooked pork slices.

    Yang Hongjie, an official at the National Animal Husbandry Services, said that in addition to meeting diverse demand for food, protecting locally bred animal species is important for biodiversity and cultural diversity.

    Although many local species are less productive than foreign species, they have other attributes such as being resistant to disease, and genetic diversity is also crucial to the creation of higher-quality species.

    Zhao, from Qingdao, said the Licha pig has more economic value and he plans to breed new pig species based on the Licha pig to meet diverse market demand.

    "I think the best way to conserve the species is to make better use of it," he said.

    Ma Youxiang, chief livestock specialist at the ministry, said that while priority should be placed on the conservation of locally bred species of livestock and poultry, commercial utilization of the species should be accelerated to meet people's increasingly diverse demand for high quality meat.