PLA promises to keep soldiers well fed

Updated: 2007-09-04 07:20

The general logistics department of the PLA has ordered all units to "take forceful measures" to ensure a stable food supply for soldiers amid the current raft of food price hikes, a circular issued Monday said.

"All army units should take measures fit for their own conditions so as to offset the impact of price hikes and ensure soldiers' living standards do not drop," the department said.

Led by the rising price of pork, a staple for many Chinese, food prices have been soaring over recent months.

Official statistics show the average wholesale pork price rose 11.5 percent in July, up 85.8 percent on the same month last year, due to short supply and mounting production costs.

All units should use surplus funds from previous years to subsidize soldiers' food in accordance with local conditions, the military decree said, adding they could adjust diets, as long as the food met the army's nutritional standards.

The circular calls for close monitoring of the whole process of food supply from purchase to processing, and increased food safety supervision.

"Soldiers stationed in tough or remote areas will have access to fresh vegetables and troops stationed in unpopulated islands may raise livestock to improve food supplies," it said.

The government increased food subsidies for its soldiery by 10 percent to 11 yuan per day ($1.45) per person earlier this year.

"The rise will help offset the impact of price hikes and improve food for soldiers, as military training demands a lot of energy and a strong body," Liao Xilong, director of the PLA general logistics department, said in an interview with Xinhua.

The national defense budget this year is expected to hit 351 billion yuan, 17.8 percent up from last year.

Liao said that the rise will be used to improve salaries, pensions, create new uniforms and training for 2.3 million servicemen.

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