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China grows taste for organic pork

Chinese organic food, organic pork in China

The pigs in Lonely Mountain village drink only spring water. There are no doors on their pens so they can come and go as they please. They eat only seasonal organic vegetables. In the village, one was sunning herself in a patch of mud while her porcine mates foraged for wild foliage or inhaled mountain soil as part of their health regimen. A little way down the hill, Lonely Mountain chickens were pecking at corn and wilted Chinese radishes as they contemplated a foray outside to nab some worms.

孤山村饲养的山猪只饮用泉水,可以在没有设门的猪圈随意进出,只喂食应季有机蔬菜。在孤山村,可以看到一只母山猪正在一块泥地上晒太阳,而其公山猪四处寻找着落叶或是嗅着山上的泥土,算是它们的养生之道吧。向山下走几步路,山鸡正在啄食玉米和萝卜,还走走停停,像是想着冲到外面捉虫吃。

These fowl — fortunate enough to be raised in a remote part of the eastern province of Anhui — don't take drugs to stay healthy. They aren't fattened up at high speed and they breathe healthy Lonely Mountain air all day. Even the vegetables are lucky: they're fertilised with waste from pigs and chickens rather than chemicals. Like the livestock, they are watered with spring water alone.

这些饲养在东部安徽省偏远地区的家禽相当幸运,不用吃药就能保持健康。它们不会被快速催肥,可以整天呼吸孤山村的健康空气。甚至连蔬菜都是幸运的:施的不是化肥,而是山猪和山鸡的粪便。和家禽一样,蔬菜也只用山泉水浇灌。

Beijing is counting on these upper middle class pigs, affluent chickens and upmarket veg to make the nation rich now that widget-making will no longer suffice. To combat the Chinese growth slowdown that has rattled world markets since the start of the year, the Communist party expects the masses not simply to spend but upgrade their tastes to a point where they are buying more high-margin items such as Lonely Mountain meat.

由于小商品制造不再能满足需求,北京正在指望这些高级山猪、山鸡和蔬菜使国家富裕。为应对自今年初以来影响世界市场的中国增长放缓,共产党希望群众不仅消费,而且要提高档次,购买孤山村肉食等更多高利润产品。

It's often said that China has a two-track economy, where the old bit is faltering and the new bit is powering forth, but there's a split even within the bit of the economy that relies on consumption, according to Boston Consulting Group. Its report forecasts that, by 2020, 81 per cent of Chinese consumption growth will come from households with annual disposable income higher than $24,000, which BCG calls "upper middle class" or "affluent". The consultancy expects the number of such households to double to 100m within four years. They are forecast to comprise 30 per cent of all urban households, compared with 17 per cent at the end of last year and 7 per cent in 2010.

人们常说中国是双轨经济——旧轨正在衰落,新轨正在蓬勃发展,但美国波士顿咨询公司说,甚至在有赖于消费的新轨经济内部都存在分裂。其报告预测,到2020年,有81%的中国消费增长将来自年均可支配收入超过2.4万美元的家庭,波士顿咨询公司称之为"中上阶层"或"富裕阶层"。该公司预计,上述家庭总数在4年内会增长一倍至1亿户,估计将占所有城市家庭总数的30%,高于去年底17%和2010年7%的比例。

These are exactly the kind of people who like to know their pigs are breathing cleaner air, and drinking cleaner water, than they are themselves. Beijing has inadvertently contributed to this market by facilitating the grievous pollution of mainland soil and water in the pursuit of the Chinese industrial revolution, making food safety one of the most important issues for consumers.

这种人恰恰希望知道,食用的山猪比自己呼吸着更洁净的空气、喝着更干净的泉水。北京因追求中国工业革命、加速内地土壤和水严重污染而无意中壮大了这一市场,使食品安全成为对消费者而言最重要问题之一。

And, now that ever more shoppers have the money to avoid the negative effect of all that pollution on their food, they are increasingly willing to drop a dime on doing so. On Taobao, the online Chinese marketplace, Lonely Mountain free range "black pork" fetches roughly a third more than normal "white" pork costs in the local food market.

由于愈来愈多的消费者有财力避免食品污染带来的负面影响,因而他们愈加愿意为此掏腰包。在中国网购商城淘宝上,孤山散养"黑猪肉"售价较当地生鲜市场普通"白"猪肉高出约1/3。

In the run-up to this weekend's start to lunar new year — which begins with the most important meal of the year, nianyefan or new year's eve dinner — sales of Lonely Mountain black pork rose dozens of times over, says farmer Ah Tu, an IT expert who splits his time between Shanghai and his native village. He now does a roaring trade on Taobao in pigs, chickens, mountain goats, ducks and other animals raised in Lonely Mountain.

农民阿土是一名互联网技术专家,在上海和农村老家两地之间往返。他说,在本周末即将开启农历新年前夕,孤山黑猪肉销量已攀升数十倍。拉开春节序幕的就是一年中最重要的年夜饭。他现在淘宝网上销售的猪肉、鸡肉、山羊肉、鸭肉和其他孤山村饲养家禽肉类交易量正不断攀升。

Ah Tu is not his real name: it's a moniker he's chosen to combine the Chinese character for earth with a prefix that suggests he's a down-home kind of guy. He's not as rustic as all that: during the two days we spent with him, he was constantly transacting pork deals on his two smartphones, sometimes via his Bluetooth headset. One entrepreneur called to arrange 200 lots of black pork to give to employees as a lunar new year gift. Ah Tu says his biggest problem is slaughtering pigs fast enough to keep up with demand.

阿土并非其真名:他起的这个绰号把"土"和一个表明自己淳朴特质的前缀结合起来。他并非那么乡土:在我们采访他的两天里,他不时用两部智能手机做着猪肉生意。有一位企业家致电购买200份黑猪肉作为春节礼品发给职工。阿土说其最大问题是屠宰速度如何能够足够快跟上需求。

He's hoping to lure more of his customers up to Lonely Mountain village to get up close and personal with the pigs they're buying. In future, customers shopping at his Taobao store will know the birthday of their chosen creature.

他希望吸引更多顾客来孤山村近距离与这些山猪亲身接触。将来,在其淘宝店下单的顾客会知道所选生猪出生日期、屠宰日期和饲料成分。

2016-06-23

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