During the International Biogas Training Workshop, our group traveled to visit Ming Hong Company in Chuxiong, a town about 150 kilometers away from Kunming, Yunnan. Ming Hong Company is a farming company partnered with Yunnan Normal University’s biogas Professor Zhang Wu Di, who provides technical consulting to the company.
Ming Hong Company raises over 100,000 organic pigs every year. The pig manure is transferred to the large biogas digesters on site to generate power. The biogas digester has an installed capacity of 10,000 KW and has an annual power generation capacity of 6.5 million kWh. After the fermentation of the manure through the biogas digester, the bioslurry is used to produce organic fertilizer. The organic fertilizer is used to grow green fodder for the pigs, and the fodder is processed and then fed to the pigs. Currently, 50,000 tons of organic fertilizer is produced each year. This farm-fertilizer-feed-food model (the 4F model) forms the circular economy. While there is no formal definition of circular economy, it can be defined as a circular flow of materials where fewer pollutants and unwanted products are released into the environment, but instead are recycled.
The Ming Hong Company was founded in January of 2005 with a total capital investment of 11 million RMB and 197 acres of land. The site is divided up into several different sections: 1) pig breeding and meatpacking factory, 2) organic fertilizer production, 3) organic feed processing, 4) biogas power generation, and 5) a dairy breeding site and meatpacking factory.
Through the use of biogas, the methane that would have otherwise been released in the air is used for power generation. Since the greenhouse gas emissions of this company is significantly reduced through using the manure from the 100,000 pigs for biogas power generation and the company’s early founding in 2005, Ming Hong Company was the first enterprise in Yunnan to be granted as a CDM project.
The company is also planning to expand its production capacity by building an additional four breeding demonstration sites in Wu Ding County (close to Kunming) and at Rong Ren County. Each breeding demonstration site would have the capacity to raise 100,000 pigs. This sustainable farming model raises the selling price for pork (organic pork is 2-3 times higher than regular pork) and increases farmers’ incomes, provides consumers with a higher quality of meat, reduces waste, and generates power on-site.
The company’s programs in raising pigs, producing organic fertilizer, generating power from biogas, cultivating green fodder, organic feed processing, raising cows, and meatpacking required a total investment of 195 million RMB. The Ministry of Agriculture provided 25% of the funding, bank loans covered another 25% of the funding, and the additional 50% of total funding came from the enterprise itself. After investment and construction of the facility, the yearly gross sale is approximately 506 million RMB and the yearly total profit after taxes is 26 million RMB.
It is impressive that Ming Hong Company had already started this sustainable farming business back in 2005 and was successful in raising a significant amount of money and government support to make this business possible. The Ming Hong Company is an excellent model for sustainable farming in China, and if future sustainable farming enterprises are to succeed, government support, capital investment, and education on the importance of circular economy is all essential.