Chinese gastronomes' wait for Mongolian sheep ends

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/10/22 17:07:57

Photo shows the migration of sheep in Sunan Yugur Autonomous County, northwest China's Gansu Province, Oct. 15, 2020. From mid-October to next mid-March every year, over 300 herdsmen in about 50 villages in Sunan Yugur Autonomous County drive more than 100,000 cattle and sheep to lower elevation corn fields, dozens of kilometers away, in a bid to preserve the pasture for livestock grazing in summer and autumn. (Xinhua/Fan Peishen)

First batch of 4,000 sheep donated by Mongolia have arrived at Erenhot, North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on Thursday after passing 30-day quarantine. 

Mongolian President announced the donation of 30,000 sheep to China during his late-February trip to China to support the fight against COVID-19. The rest of the sheep will arrive in China in mid-November, and will be transported to Central China's Hubei Province, hard-hit earlier this year amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

"This is to convey the wishes of the Mongolian government and people to Hubei residents who have made great contributions in the fight against the coronavirus," said Zhao Lijian, spokesman of Chinese Foreign Ministry, on Thursday during a press briefing.

The donation embodies the unswerving support of Mongolia for the fight against COVID-19 of the Chinese government and people, which vividly illustrates the concept of building a community with shared future for mankind, and highlights the profound friendship of the two countries and two peoples, said Zhao.

Netizens commented on Twitter-like Chinese Sina Weibo that this should be the world's first "sheep diplomacy."

Netizens thanked Mongolia for the friendly support, and for the delicious food made from the sheep.

"On behalf of the residents of Hubei, I would like to thank Mongolia. And I will travel there," wrote a Weibo user Qingshuiyumo. 

[I'm] so moved not to tears but to slobber, said a Sina Weibo user named CC Moli Expelliarmus. And the message got a lot of admirers, saying they cannot wait to enjoy the mutton in Hubei.

The Mongolian sheep have been on the list of hottest topics and most searched hashtags on Sina Weibo during the past months, which was evident that Chinese gourmets have been eagerly waiting for the sheep.

Per capita mutton consumption reached 3.76 kilograms in 2019, and the total consumption volume reached 5.18 million tons, up from 5.08 million in 2018 and 4.94 million in 2017, per official data. 

According to industry analysis platform, the consumption of mutton is expected to rise gradually. China will consume 5.3 million tons of mutton this year, and is expected to eat 5.41 million in 2021 and 5.5 million in 2022.

China's total meat demand will reach 100 million tons by 2020, but the total output of meat will be 90 million tons, with about 10 million tons to be filled by imports, said the Ministry of Agriculture.

As for mutton, 406,112 tons of mutton is expected to be imported to China in 2020, per 

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