Mongolian imports to quench forage thirst

China will import more than 400,000 metric tons of forage from Mongolia next year to copewith the growing demand for dairy and other high-protein productsofficials said onWednesday.
Shipments have already started with eight trucks carrying 200 tons of forage reaching theZuunkhadavchi Land Port of Xilin Gol League in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomousregion on WednesdayThis is also the first time that China is importing forage from Mongolia.
Since Mongolia's eastern region is rich in stockbreeding resourcesthe government of XilinGol League signed an agreement with three Mongolian provincesOmnogoviDornogovi andSuhbaatarto import forage.
China will import 100,000 tons of forage from Mongolia by the end of this year and the annualimport volume of forage is expected to exceed 400,000 tons in 2016.
Limited by its poor forage crop productionChina used to import forage from the United Statesand Australia to support its stockbreeding industryRising prices of imported foragealfalfaand corn silage have affected the nation's raw milk output in the past two yearsMost of theChinese dairy farms lack access to quality feed for their cattle and cows.
"Since most of the farmland in China is used for growing grains and vegetablesthecultivation of forage crops is far behind that of developed countriesThe country largelydepends on imported forage and alfalfa to supply domestic dairy and cattle farms," saidNavchimaadeputy head of Dong Ujimqin Banner of Xilin Gol League.
She said demand for milkbeef and mutton in China's western regionparticularly in theNingxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regionsand Qinghai and Gansu provinceshasgrown in the past five yearsas it is becoming more expensive to raise cattle and cows inwestern Chinawhere the economy and livestock industry are less developed than in theeastern provinces.
Due to the limited grazing lands and breeding cycleChina's sheep breeding sector has alsolagged behind consumer demandresulting in higher lamb prices over the past five years,according to a report released by Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences inJune.
Eager to meet domestic demand for various foodstuffsthe Chinese government hasincreased international trade in food products through trading arrangements such as freetrade agreements or non-tariff deals for certain agricultural products with its trading partnersin Central AsiaEurope and South America.
"As China has found it impossible to grow all of the food it needs and has consequentlyformed closer ties with its trade partnersdemand for dairy productsbeef and mutton willcertainly provide many opportunities for forage suppliers and other agricultural businesses inMongolia," said B Bayanmagnaidirector of Mongolia's Bichigt Custom district.
Under the agreementXilin Gol League and Mongolia will also start horse trading in eachother's land portsThe two sides plan to trade 20,000 horses next yearas well as open moremarket channels for breeding cattle and sheep.

Source: China Daily
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