DALIAN, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has said the government will continue to stabilize surging food prices and ensure market supply of meat, vegetables and eggs.
Wen paid visits to communities, markets and an employment service center in the northeast port city of Dalian on Wednesday and Thursday to get a better understanding of market prices, employment situation and supply of agricultural products in the city, according to a government statement on Friday.
Wen expressed his concern about surging prices during his visit to two retirees' families and said that the government was looking at ways to encourage pig-raising to stabilize the price of pork, the country's staple meat.
The pork price in August surged 45.5 percent from a year ago, and was the leading contributor to the surging food prices, which rose 13.4 percent year-on-year last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.
During a meeting with representatives of local food companies and retailers, Wen discussed with them about the causes of the price hikes and measures to stabilize prices.
He said rising costs of pig raising and fewer small-scale pig farms, a key supplier of pork, had both contributed to the surge in prices.
Yu Jinwen, from a local pork-supplying company, said he expected prices would stabilize in the coming winter and will drop next year.
When visiting a supermarket, Wen said more direct supply links should be established between farmers and retailers to reduce logistics costs.
Both the market mechanism and the government's macro-economic regulation measures, including supportive policies for the farmers and enterprises, are needed to deal with food supply and price issues, Wen said.
"We are capable of ensuring food supply and maintaining prices at reasonable levels," he said.
On Thursday morning, Wen inspected an employment and social security service center in the city.
After learning that some enterprises were having difficulties hiring enough competent technical workers, Wen said the government should make more efforts to develop vocational education in the country and encourage society to pay more respect to technical workers.
During a conference Thursday afternoon, Wen stressed the importance of safe production and environmental protection.
Special attention should be paid to the safety in the coal-mining and dangerous chemical industries, as well as traffic safety, Wen said.
Further, Wen said the government should make use of the market, administrative and legal measures in environmental protection.
Wen called on government departments to supervise enterprises with regards to safe production and environmental protection.
Also, the public should be encouraged to take part in the supervision, he said.