The Chinese Ag Ministry says large hog farms are lining up with the smaller family-owned farms as part of a state-initiated investment worth about $7.1 billion dollars. 

The goal of the new initiative is to boost hog operations across the country that were hit hard by the African Swine Fever outbreak. 

A Reuters report says fifteen of the country’s leading pig farms signed 19 agreements with local governments in 16 Chinese cities to raise pigs together. 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs says these projects should produce over 22 million hogs for slaughter every year and will involve 33,000 poor rural families. 

While announcing the plan, the ministry didn’t give a specific timeline on when this would take place. 

Bigger farms are being encouraged to purchase a stake in or lease medium and smaller farms. 

They’re also being asked to make these arrangements as quickly as possible by building a number of standardized household-based farms, slaughterhouses, and refrigerating centers. 

China’s hog herds, once the biggest in the world, has dropped almost 40 percent since the ASF outbreak began in mid-2018. 

China is the world’s biggest producer and consumer of pork.