A large traditional Chinese herbal medicine base will be built in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region over the next ten years, according to the local government.
Ma Qizhi, governor of the regional government, said that as a key project in China's strategic move to step up the development of western China, the medicine base is likely to spur the social and economic progress of this ethnic autonomous region.
Ningxia has rich resources of medicinal herbs. A recent survey shows that Ningxia is home to over 1,100 species of traditional medicinal herbs, with reserves of more than 300,000 tons.
Lycium chinense and licorice root are just two of the most notable. They have a long growing history in China and enjoy a high reputation in the world market.
By the year 2010, a 10,000-hectare medicine base valued at some five billion yuan (about 570 US dollars) will be set up in the region by expanding the present cultivating areas of several typical traditional Chinese medicinal herbs.
In addition, the autonomous region will take steps to ensure a smooth and healthy development of medicine processing industry. Ma added that Ningxia will also make efforts to protect the ecological environment.