China to seek UN heritage tag for its freshwater pearl farming

23 September 2017, 04:57 PM
China to seek UN heritage tag for its freshwater pearl farming.
China to seek UN heritage tag for its freshwater pearl farming.

China will bid for the United Nation's heritage tag for its centuries-old freshwater pearl farming, according to the state media.

Work for filing the application to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation is being prepared by the country government of Deqing, in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, where the freshwater pearl farming technique was developed by a local man, Ye Jinyang, during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).

The FAO's 'Globally Important Agricultural Heritage systems' tag, a world heritage equivalent, promotes public understanding, awareness, national and international recognition of agricultural heritage systems.

According to a local archive, 5,000 households in Deqing depended on the farming technique at that time, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported today. In the 18th century, foreigners travelling to China picked up the technique and spread it across the world.

In 1967, Shen Zhirong set up Oushiman Group in Deqing to develop freshwater pearl farming and expand the industry nationwide. 

Deqing is still China's largest freshwater pearl production base, with the output of freshwater pearls nearing 100 tonnes in 2016, about 10 percent of China's total.

In July, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture added Deqing's freshwater pearl farming to China's list of most important agricultural heritage.

In order to safeguard and support the world's agricultural heritage systems, in 2002 the FAO started the initiative for identification and the dynamic conservation of 'Globally Important Agricultural Heritage systems' (GIAHS).

First Published: Saturday, September 23, 2017 04:42 PM

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