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China Targets Farm Waste as Clean Energy Source
China Targets Farm Waste as Clean Energy Source

China Targets Farm Waste as Clean Energy Source

China Targets Farm Waste as Clean Energy Source

China will pay farmers to turn animal droppings into fertilizer and power, the country's Ministry of Agriculture said on Wednesday, as Beijing cracks down on agricultural pollution that has for years leaked into rivers and lakes, angering Chinese residents.
The country will give farmers subsidies to build animal waste processing facilities to make fertilizers or to treat manure so it is safe for disposal, and to install biogas plants that use methane to generate electricity, according a government plan announced on Aug. 1, Reuters reported.
The plan includes setting up recycling programs by 2020 in 200 major counties that have livestock farms. That is less than half the 586 major counties the government says have hog and poultry farms. The ministry gave no details about the size of the subsidies, but the move could be a big step toward curbing chemical fertilizer use and cutting water pollution.
“We will help the farmers fully understand how organic fertilizer can improve energy efficiency and the environment,” said Zhong Luqing, director of the ministry's Fertilizer Department, at a briefing on Wednesday.
Biogas technology, which can help save on electrical costs, is too expensive for many farmers unless the government helps.
"Those researching and using organic fertilizer will also get preferential treatment on loans, taxes, power use and land rent," Zhong said. Getting rid of animal waste is a major headache for livestock producers worldwide, partly because of the strong odor and damage caused to the atmosphere by the release of harmful gases. Runoff containing animal wastes can also seep into the water table and contaminate rivers and lakes.
In China, how to better dispose of animal waste has become a particular problem due to the fast growth of poultry and hog farming over the past decade to meet demand for higher quality meat. Chinese livestock farms generate nearly 4 billion tons of waste annually, according to the agriculture ministry.
The plan is part of Beijing’s effort to limit chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which have contaminated soil and water. China uses about one-third of the world’s fertilizers.

 

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