Pass the pigs serves the people

13:50, February 10, 2011      

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"If your son was always within the top three in class, graduated from Tsinghua University and was offered a job which pays him 300,000 yuan ($45,600) a year, why would he choose to sell pork?" asked Sun Kewu, father of Sun Chenguang.

Since Chenguang, 30, a Tsinghua MBA, gave up a high-salary job to raise organic pigs in his hometown Changchun, Jilin Province, contention between father and son has simmered, with Kewu even taking to poetry to express his dissatisfaction. His work, entitled Tsinghua kid sells pork, drives his dad in tears, caused Chenguang sorrow but hasn't affected his dream.

Inspired by food scandal

The idea of raising organic pigs originated from an experience at the University of North Carolina (UNC) as an exchange student in 2008.

The Sanlu milk powder affair shocked students and effected their perceptions of Chinesefood. "They could not believe that baby food was also faked," he told the Global Times. "Even the Chinese food in the school cafeteria at the university was losing customers."

An incident where a veterinary company's cow model was disabused by a professor, who joked that its "Made in China" label meant it was carcinogenic, amused some but insulted several of Chenguang's Chinese classmates, who left in protest.

"The professor apologized, saying that he was kidding. But I said to myself that once I had a chance, I will let my compatriots have healthy food," Chenguang vowed.

Advanced theory

Supply Chain Management at UNC ranks as top major of its kind in the world and covers comprehensive management from supplier, manufacturer and distributor to consumer. Chenguang said that the Sanlu scandal was caused by loose surveillance in upstream suppliers (it has become a case study at UNC).

Back in Beijing, Chenguang refused a 300,000-yuan-a-year purchasing manager position offered by generator manufacturer Cummins and returned instead to his hometown to promote advanced philosophy in supply-chain management.

"Auto manufacture has the strictest requirements on the quality of products. If we apply their management philosophy to food purchase, breeding, slaughter and sale, quality will be secured," he said.

He is encouraged by Chen Sheng, a graduate of Peking University, who also sells pork, earning 200 million yuan ($30 million) over two years.

To be organic

There are 30 plus workers feeding more than 3,000 pigs in Liuhe county farm, Tonghua in Jilin Province. About 20 others work as salesmen.

Ignoring the traditional model, dividing the operation into company and farmer, they produce natural feed themselves, rent the land and employ farmers to plant on it, which guarantees no artificial fertilizer is used in the process; the pigs' manure is used instead.

With a diet of corn, bean and vegetables, and water from a deep, unpolluted well, each pig has its own private sty, identification and documents. The breed is a local black type, noted for its tasty meat but wild disposition (hence the segregation). Everyone who enters the farm, which is isolated from the business offices, is disinfected.


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