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Chinese Premier stresses herders' livelihoods amid efforts to protect grassland areas

01-03-2011 16:53 BJT

HOHHOT, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has stressed that herdsmens' living standards should not be lowered as the nation strives to conserve the grasslands.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (2nd R, front), who is also a member of the
Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of
China (CPC) Central Committee, talks with herdsmen in Xilingol, north
China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Jan. 1, 2011. Wen Jiabao
inspected Inner Mongolia on Saturday and Sunday. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

Wen made the remarks during a two-day tour to Xilingol, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, that ended Sunday.

From the beginning of this year, China is giving financial assistance to herders for their efforts to conserve grasslands and to compensate them for their losses.

China's pastoral regions are vast and have great development potential. The development of animal husbandry not only helps herders improve their living standards but also concerns cities' non-staple food supply, the Premier said.

"Periodic bans are an important step to restore the grasslands. They should be implemented gradually. Herders' living standards should not be lowered and pastoral regions' supply of beef and mutton should not be reduced during the process," he said.

Officials should visit yurts to discuss the policy with affected herders, Wen said while inside a yurt, a traditional Mongolian tent.

He called on authorities to devise policies for the sound and fast development of pastoral regions, on the basis of the new reward-compensation mechanism.

He urged local governments to make more efforts to improve grass seeds, livestock and irrigation systems, to provide vocational training for herders and to facilitate the modernization of stock breeding and pasture areas.

In 25 degrees Celsius below zero temperatures, Wen visited the heart of the Xilingol pasture to greet herders in their homes.

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