June 21, 2011


China to compensate Xinjiang herdsmen for grazing ban


The Chinese government will allocate nearly RMB10 billion (US$1.54 billion) in subsidies to some 1.2 million herdsmen in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region over the next five years in compensation for a grazing ban in the area.


This is in accordance with the grasslands ecological protection subsidies and awards mechanism launched on June 16.


Under the mechanism, Xinjiang will impose a grazing ban on 101,000 square kilometres of grasslands starting this year, including nearly 79,000 square kilometres of seriously degraded desert grasslands and alpine grasslands, some 1,000 square kilometres of major water conservation areas and grassland nature reserves and more than 21,000 square kilometres of grasslands recovered from 2007 to 2010.


As the amount of subsidies varies according to the type of grasslands, local herdsmen will receive a subsidy of RMB8,250 (US$1,273) for each square kilometre of desert grasslands and recovered grasslands, and a subsidy of RMB75,000 (US$11,574) for each square kilometre of major water conservation areas and grassland nature reserves.


Meanwhile, Xinjiang's more than 359,000 square kilometres of grasslands will enjoy RMB2,250 (US$347) per square kilometre of subsidies each year according to the government approved base. In addition, the government will also provide RMB15,000 (US$2,315) per square kilometre of fine breed subsidies each year for seeding grass, and provide each herdsman household RMB500 (US$77) of production material subsidies. Cows, sheep, yaks and goats will also be included in the range of livestock subsidies.


Xinjiang has more than 573,000 square kilometres of natural grasslands, including 480,000 square kilometres of usable grassland. In recent years, the degradation and desertification of Xinjiang's grassland is in a serious condition due to natural climatic conditions, over-grazing, excessive reclamation and excavation, as well as the traditional way of production and lifestyle. As a result, Xinjiang's grass production declined and the ecological environment continues to deteriorate.


Qian Zhi, vice governor of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, said that the implementation of the grassland ecological protection subsidy and reward mechanism will have a significant impact for reversing the trend of grassland ecological environment deterioration in Xinjiang, promoting the development of pastoral areas and animal husbandry, and benefiting farmers of various ethnic groups.


The State Council decided to implement the grassland ecological protection subsidy and reward mechanism for five years in eight main prairie areas such as Xinjiang in 2010. The central government will arrange RMB13.4 billion (US$2.07 billion) of subsidies each year for the implementation of the grasslands grazing ban, providing rewards for the balance between grassland and livestock and providing production subsidies for the manual forage production in pasturing areas and the livestock breed improvement.

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