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City offers incentives to local veggie growers

AT least 33,000 hectares of land has been earmarked for growing vegetables this year to ensure a stable supply of vegetables in the city, said officials from the Shanghai Agricultural Commission today. Currently, vegetables are planted in 34,733 hectares of suburb farmland, which supplies about 8,300 tons of fresh vegetables a day with 4,700 tons being green-leaf vegetables. The wholesale price of the seasonal bok choy was 0.6 yuan (9 US cents) per kilogram today, down 8.8 percent from the previous month. The government has taken urgent measures to boost vegetable output and rein in soaring vegetable prices on the market. Research showed that vegetable farming is not lucrative. "Some local farmers would rather let vegetables rot in the field than hiring farm hands to harvest," said Ye Shengzhou, an officer from the commission. On another note, officials said they will closely examine pork products for traces of Clenbuterol, a chemical that makes pigs to grow only lean meat but is harmful to human health, and conduct more sample tests to prevent possible contamination of aquatic products. The officials also guaranteed the city's grain output will reach 1 billion kilograms this year. To encourage farmers to grow more crops, the city government has allocated budget as farming subsidies. Farmers who supply green-leaf vegetables in the off-season of summer will receive 1,200 yuan of subsidy per hectare. Rice growers will get 1,350 yuan per hectare compared with 1,140 yuan before. Farmers who use straw manure will be awarded 675 yuan per hectare, the officials added.

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