A PROPOSAL by the Heung Yee Kuk to house farms in multi-storey blocks in remote areas as a way of reducing pollution has already aroused opposition. The kuk's consultancy has been criticised as 'armchair strategy' because they have so far failed to submit even a simple lay-out plan of the estate. Julie Stohler, a consultant commissioned by the kuk, admitted that only a 'concept document' had been worked out, and could not provide investment details or say how big the site should be. The kuk's proposal, prompted by regulations approved last April to control the discharge of agricultural waste, sought government funding to build the estate on marginal land in Ta Kwu Ling. Blocks of three to four storeys would accommodate on different floors farms for raising pigs, ducks and chickens. Farmers could either buy or rent a floor area. A centralised system would treat solid waste to be re-used as fertiliser, while liquid waste would be recycled for vegetable irrigation. The Economic Services Branch ordered the Advisory Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries to carry out a further study after receiving a report from the kuk. But it is understood the Government has strong reservations about land and money grants for construction. At an advisory committee meeting last month, members were understood to be unhappy about the consultancy's failure to provide detailed estimates of the costs and operation of the estate. 'They failed to provide answers to most of the questions raised by members, not even a lay-out plan of the estate to allow members a rough idea what it is like,' one source said. But Ms Stohler believes those are only technical problems which can be sorted out. 'The important point is for the Government to determine what its agricultural policy is.' She expected the Government to fund a detailed feasibility report if it found the idea worth pursuing. The kuk's vice-chairman Daniel Lam Wai-keung said it believed that farming estates were the right way to pursue Hong Kong's agricultural development. Mr Lam said the Government, if it was sincere about wanting to promote agricultural development, should fund the project. 'Pigs and ducks are already raised with the help of advanced technology, and production will not be affected by weather changes if the animals are raised indoor,' he said. At present, about 3,000 livestock farmers in Hong Kong produce about 20 to 30 per cent of local meat needs.