The Chinese government has invested US$199.47 million (RMB1.5 billion) to boost pig production in the 253 counties that are major pork suppliers, the 21st Century Business Herald reported, citing the Ministry of Finance. The money will be used for reconstruction of pig farms, the purchase of thoroughbred pigs, and vaccinations. China has suffered a pork shortage and ensuing price hikes, which have contributed significantly to the record high 6.5% rise in the consumer price index in August. The average pork price was US$3.4 (RMB25.6) per kilogram last week, 1.08% lower than the week earlier and 8.39% lower than its record high on August 9, while per capita annual consumption of pork in China has doubled from 20 kilograms in 1990 to nearly 40 kilograms in 2006. The annual pork supply also jumped from 6.2 million tons to 25 million tons during the period. According to a survey conducted recently, urban dwellers, particularly those in big cities, have started buying imported beef from the US and Japan as local pork prices, as well as prices for other meat, narrow the gap on prices for imported meat.