Society

Too pig to fail

Graduate opts for country life

“Fame portends trouble for humans just as fattening does for pigs” warns a rather gloomy Chinese proverb. But for Long Bo, a business administration graduate from Sichuan, and his girlfriend Wang Xu it was a decision to start up a pig farm of their own that seemed to spell disaster. Both sets of parents were completely opposed to the idea, reports the China Daily. Disgrace to the family name was even mentioned.

But Long persisted, and his determination has paid off. China’s pork market generates $32 billion in revenues annually, and as consumers earn more, they are also eating more pork. It already accounts for two thirds of meat consumption in China and in the first half of last year a combination of rising demand and a series of short-term supply problems (specifically the lag impact of a 2007 outbreak of “blue ear” disease) saw prices rise by two thirds. For Long the favourable environment helped him expand his initial plans (two sows) into the Pulanke Pig Raising Cooperative, which now raises 230,000 pigs a year.

The scientific methods of hog raising that Long originally hoped to develop are also more in vogue today, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily. Burgeoning environmental consciousness amongst wealthier Chinese is also seeing demand for high-quality agricultural products.

Where there is muck, there is brass (wisdom from Yorkshire rather than the Middle Kingdom) and the Southern Metropolis sees further profit thanks to the hastening consolidation within the industry. Foreign companies, like Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank have bought into the sector too.

Even so, most of China’s 600 million hogs still feed at family troughs. And Long’s parents have now come round to their son’s way of thinking. In fact, he complains that they soon wanted to be involved in the business themselves. A second family row was fomented when he discovered that his parents (who had raised pigs themselves earlier in their lives) had been secretly feeding his animals.


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