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Major Agricultural Base Adapts to Post-WTO Competition

 

Shandong Province, a major agricultural production base in east China, has taken measures to gear its agricultural production to the tough competition that came on the heals of the country's accession to the World Trade Organization.

Analysts have pointed out that the impact brought by WTO is mainly on wheat, corn, cotton, soybeans and some types of fruit, while some categories such as aquatic products, vegetables, meat, peanuts and processed food have proven competitive in the international market and will therefore face more opportunities and less challenge.

In line with the universal quest for healthy food and "green" products, Shandong will step up efforts to build a standardization and monitoring system to ensure quality and safety of its farm products, said Vice-Governor Lin Shuxiang.

Currently, the province is taking measures to guarantee the supply of "green" farm produce, and a special committee has been set up to certify pollution-free agricultural products.

Many Shandong farmers have devoted themselves to producing chemical-free fruit and vegetables. A mobile phone-sized detector has become popular among the farmers, which enables them to determine if any vegetables or fruit have traces of pesticide or fertilizer at any given time.

As China's major province for the production of vegetables, Shandong's vegetable exports account for 22 percent of the country's total.

Officials in charge of agriculture here estimated that Shandong exported 4.45 billion U.S. dollars of agricultural and sideline products during 2001, rising 26 percent over the previous year.

They expect the figure to climb to 5.1 billion U.S. dollars this year through expansion of exports to more countries and regions in the world. (People's Daily January 7, 2002)

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