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NE China dairy farmers to get $36 mln in subsidies
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08:39, April 24, 2009

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Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province announced Thursday it would provide 250 million yuan (36.6 million U.S. dollars) in subsidies to support dairy farmers whose business was hurt by last year's adulterated milk scandal.

Dairy farmers can get 500 yuan for each dairy cow they raise that can be bred, said Jin Jibin, deputy Secretary-general of the Heilongjiang government. He didn't say when the subsidies would be given.

"The priority is to stabilize the breeding of dairy cows, protect the interests of farmers and boost their confidence to continue raising cows," he said.

With 2.2 million dairy cows, the province produces one sixth of China's milk. But 75 percent of the farmers are losing money because consumer confidence hasn't recovered from the scandal, which involved the addition of the industrial chemical melamine to raise the apparent protein content of the milk.

"The entire dairy market is in depression although milk from Heilongjiang is melamine-free. I'm on the verge of bankruptcy because the milk price is dropping while the feed price is rising," said Zhao Hongxing, who raised 14 cows. "I hope to get the subsidies as soon as possible."

The government will also provide funding to allow students to buy milk at half-price, another measure to boost dairy consumption, Jin said.


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