China wants Louisiana nutria - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

China wants Louisiana nutria

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By Tyana Williams - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden and a mayor from China are close to inking a deal as sister cities. The mayor from China believes some good products are wasted in Louisiana, particularly the nutria.

Nutria have long caused problems for Louisiana's coastal wetlands, but Mayor Duan Bohan of Heze, China believes he has the solution. Speaking through an interpreter, Mayor Bohan said the nutria would be welcome in his country.

"The nutria, which is a pest here. But yet, we're finding markets in China," said Mayor Holden. "You dirty rat would be a clean rat over in China."

There is nowhere in China to process a Nutria. So a food processing plant here would need to separate the fur from the meat before it's exported to China. With 9.2 million people to serve, Mayor Bohan says the nutria would be nourishment.

Tuesday's meeting between the mayors was not by mistake. Six months ago, Mayor Holden spent some time in Beijing, looking for ways to increase economic development. He says these days, expanding our economy means thinking globally. "See what it takes to get companies to locate here and see what it takes to get companies here to go there." Holden says even the state is looking into relationships with China by having an office there.

Both mayors say while things are still in the talking stages, they can agree that China and Baton Rouge could serve each other well.

"Improve the relationship and potential opportunities between Baton Rouge and our city, Heze, China. In agriculture, forestry and student exchange programs," said Mayor Bohan.

It's possible the nutria alone could seal the deal. Mayor Bohan is also interested in processing Louisiana's discarded motor oil into diesel oil. Mayor Holden will return to China in April. He says that's when they plan to sign a sister city relationship agreement.

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