Futures fall; Henan hog farms

Fake Thai rice draws regulatory attention

Adulterated rice has become a hot topic following an exposé as part of China’s Consumer Rights Day on March 15th.

Each year, state broadcaster CCTV runs a two-hour primetime special looking into deceptive or illegal business practices which harm consumers. This year has included shoddy cell phones, unapproved cosmetic treatments, and an official passing off refurbished electrical infrastructure equipment as new.

But the topic which has gained the most attention online is a company selling fake Thai fragrant basmati rice.

The company in Anhui was selling rice grown in the region, adding chemical fragrances, and then repackaging it as much more expensive Thai basmati rice.

Imports of Thai rice have fluctuated in recent years in a range from 300-700k tons per year. 2022 saw imports of whole Thai rice at 544k tons. According to Customs data, the import price last year averaged 3942 yuan per ton, substantially more expensive than domestic rice.

Another topic featured was substandard work in farmland construction.

A consistent government effort has been to create ‘high-quality farmland’ to help boost productivity and yields. This means having fields in uniform shapes, drainage canals, ditches around fields, and roadways connecting fields.

The TV investigation found that the concrete pipes used in drainage canals in Jiangsu province were already cracking and falling apart before even being put in the ground. In response, the Ministry of Agriculture ordered Jiangsu to investigate and prosecute the problem and sent a special team to oversee the local officials investigation.

Futures Prices

A look at a new hog facility in Henan

Over the weekend, CCTV did a documentary about pig, poultry, and mutton production in China.

As it in Chinese, a translated transcript is included below:

The reporter made a special trip to visit a pig breeding enterprise in Nanyang, Henan Province.

Reporter: Now the building behind me is our breeding building, which is also our building for pig breeding, right? It has a total of 6 floors, and now a total of 21 buildings have been put into use?

Hog company employee: We just saw that it is on the 6th floor, and the top two floors are our sows. Our breeding pigs are here for breeding, delivery, and lactation. Our piglets are raised here until they are weaned, and then enter our 4-floor high-protection unit. After about 2 months of feeding in that unit, they enter the first through third floors, which will take about 100 days to raise, and then we will go on a market.

The biggest advantage of building pig breeding is to save land. The park covers a total area of 2800 mu (187 hectares), with an annual slaughter of 2.1 million pigs. If traditional methods were used, the capacity would only be around 400,000 pigs, a difference of about five times.

Reporter: What does it look like in the building?

Employee: We are now in the meat complex. Now we are on the fourth floor of high-protection area. Here is a pig who raises piglets and just left his mother.

This is a special elevator for baby pigs. In order to prevent the spread of animal diseases, transfer elevators are prohibited from entering other floors.

When we take it over, it is about 6kg, and then it can be raised to about 40kg in a two-month cycle, and then it can be transferred out.

Feed employee: The equipment we see now is our smart feeding machine, which can automatically adjust the formula for the pig herd and control the feeding amount according to the age of our pig herd and its health status.

Through the intelligent feeding system, piglets with different weight will eat different recipes. Here are 15 feed formulas to ensure that they can get sufficient nutrition without breast milk.

The equipment over there is our intelligent environmental control system. That is to say, it can adjust the climate, which is a temperature and humidity in our current environment.

For pig operations, the most important thing is the environment and ventilation, which is also the biggest problem to be solved by building pig breeding and adds to operation costs.

It is actually an air outlet for our fresh air. The grid-shaped filter we just saw outside passes the fresh air through the air duct and goes straight ahead from us through the air duct. When we reach each volume, we pass through the air outlet, and then we can put our hands in to feel some wind speed, and then the wind is directly blowing. The independent air circulation system has minimized the spread of swine fever and other epidemics.

The patrol robot moving back and forth can be said to be the housekeeper of the machine on this floor, and also the site staff with the highest attendance rate in this pig farm. The robot has to go back and forth in the farm nine times a day. With the help of sensors such as the infrared and sound sensors, it can sense the living conditions of the piglets in real time and transmit the information to the breeders in real time.

It is equivalent to a brain of our whole operation. It can make its own judgment on our injection environment by monitoring the temperature and humidity in our pigsty, as well as the content of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, and then feed back to our information platform to let our keepers know a real-time situation of this unit, and then make their decisions.