China turns to farm waste schemes in efforts to go green

China is set to offer subsidies to farmers to turn animal waste into energy and fertiliser in an announcement made by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture yesterday (August 30), according to Reuters.

This comes as part of efforts to clamp down on agricultural pollution into Chinese rivers and lakes, it is reported.

Subsidies will be given to Chinese farmers to construct animal waste processing facilities: to install biogas plants for the production of electricity; to produce fertiliser; or treat manure for disposal.

This comes as part of a government plan announced earlier in the month, it is alleged, and includes a target of establishing recycling schemes in 200 major regions that have livestock farms by 2020.

This, according to Reuters, is less than half of the 586 major regions which the government says have pig and poultry farms.

Details have not yet emerged about the size of the subsidies that will be given, but it is purportedly hoped that the move will go a long way towards reducing water pollution and the use of chemical fertilisers.

An agriculture ministry representative is understood to have said that efforts will be made to ensure farmers are best informed regarding optimal uses of organic fertiliser.

Almost 4 billion tonnes of waste are reportedly produced annually by Chinese livestock farms going by current levels. This follows 10 years of fast growth in the pig and poultry sectors to meet demand for better quality meat, Reuters says.

It is also claimed that China uses almost one third of the world’s fertilisers, something the Chinese government is working on limiting and reducing.

China’s efforts to become more environmentally friendly and produce renewable energy mirror Ireland’s own targets of 16% of overall energy consumption to be produced from renewable sources by 2020. The Irish efforts were given voice at the Energy In Agriculture event held in Gurteen earlier this month.