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January 27, 2011

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Cash payout for farmers

FARMERS growing greens yesterday started receiving their share of 2 million yuan (US$303,000) to compensate for low prices, under an insurance program initiated by the Shanghai government.

This first round of payments is part of a program aimed at protecting local farmers from price fluctuations and ensuring a stable food supply.

By the end of the month, it should cover all of the city's 4,000 hectares of farmland used to grow bok choy - or Chinese cabbage.

As of Tuesday, about 3,220 hectares of Chinese cabbage farmland has been insured, 80 percent of the total. The remainder is expected to be added.

The insurance only applies to farmers growing bok choy, the staple green vegetable on local dinner tables.

The government had been taking measures to boost green-leaf vegetable output as the city battles with rocketing consumer product prices. But as bok choy supplies grew, prices dropped, leading to concerns farmers would stop growing the crop.

The state-owned Anxin Agricultural Insurance Co Ltd has started paying out compensation for about 722 hectares included initially.


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