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New Development Space for Sichuan Agricultural Products
Updated:2024.02.21

Anyue lemons became Sichuan's first fresh fruit boasting an export value of over 100 million yuan; Danling oranges were sold out in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan; 182 tons of dried chilies planted by a Sichuan company in Pakistan were sold out back in China before the Spring Festival. Sichuan is committed to bringing local agricultural products globally and introducing foreign ones, fostering industrial ecosystems, promoting the synergistic evolution of the industry chain, bolstering industrial development, and contributing to rural revitalization.

Import: Chilies

Open up Overseas Bases to Plant Sichuan Chilies in Pakistan

"Where are the chilies now? Will they arrive at the warehouse on time?" On February 19, Duan Hongjun, Deputy General Manager of LTEC International Agricultural Development Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Sichuan Puji Holdings Group Co., Ltd., came to the office early and asked about the status of the shipment. This batch of goods, totaling 150 tons of dried chilies imported from Pakistan, is scheduled to reach the Neijiang bonded warehouse on February 23.

"The 182 tons of dried chilies that we imported in mid-January have been sold out before the Spring Festival." The dried chilies mentioned by Duan Hongjun are the first batch of imported dried chilies of the agricultural cooperation project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

In 2022, the chili planting agricultural industry demonstration and promotion project implemented by Puji Holdings in Pakistan was incorporated in the first agricultural projects under the CPEC. In March 2023, Neijiang and Puji Holdings initiated the China-Pakistan Chili Supply Chain cooperation project. According to the agreement, Puji Holdings will import over 50,000 tons of chilies annually from Pakistan.

Neijiang has a remarkable chili yield as the main place of origin. Then why did Puji Holdings choose to plant chilies in far-off Pakistan instead of Neijiang? And what impact will the China-Pakistan Chili Supply Chain cooperation project have on Neijiang?

"We plan to establish chili planting bases in Pakistan by phases over two to three years, intending to expand the cultivation area to 200,000 acres (1 acre = 6.07 mu) annually by 2026," said Duan Hongjun.

When asked about the reason why it is chilies, Duan Hongjun mentioned that the climate and other conditions in Pakistan are very ideal for chili cultivation. In addition, the demand for chilies in the Sichuan-Chongqing region is robust. For instance, the group's products such as Pixian Douban generate annual sales of 50 million US dollars, and they require a large number of dried chilies.

However, in recent years, the group has been affected by the rising prices of land, labor, production resources, and other production factors. "Opening up new agricultural production bases abroad is a viable option," Duan Hongjun stated.

Since 2019, the humble chilies have effectively enhanced agricultural production in Pakistan. "We currently have 120 Pakistani employees, with over 80% holding postgraduate degrees in agriculture-related fields." Duan Hongjun introduced that LTEC collaborates with local universities to train versatile individuals with agricultural knowledge, basic knowledge of the Chinese language, and managerial capabilities. This approach establishes a local talent pool of technical and management professionals.

In recent years, Neijiang has seized opportunities to proactively play a role in and serve the CPEC development. "As the main 'battlefield' for Neijiang's logistics hub construction and the undertaker of the dried chili cooperation project, Neijiang New Area will spare no effort to provide services and support for the project," said Fan Changguang, Vice Secretary of the Party Working Committee and Director of the Management Committee of Neijiang New Area.

Chilies are a vital agricultural product in Neijiang, with the chili industry having developed for over 40 years. What impact will the imported dried chilies from Pakistan have on local chili cultivation?

"The robust market demand and differentiated products determine that the project will not negatively affect Neijiang's chili industry; instead, it will drive chili seed R&D, import trade, and production processing industry chain in Neijiang." According to the Neijiang Municipal Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the local chili industry is dominated by fresh products like Qixingjiao, Chaotianjiao, and Erjingtiao, while the main import from Pakistan is dried chilies, which can enrich the variety of chili products available in Neijiang. (Reporter Chen Yu)

Export: Lemons

Export Value Surpassing 100mln Yuan: Data Portrays Top Export Fruit

Recently, the news that Anyue lemon exports exceeded 100 million yuan made it to the trending topic. As the first fresh fruit export from Sichuan to obtain such accomplishment, which countries specifically purchase Anyue lemons? How strong is Sichuan's lemon industry? Sets of data have been used to portray Anyue lemons.

Data from Chengdu Customs District P.R.CHINA reveals that Sichuan's lemon and lime exports reached 140 million yuan in 2023, ranking first nationwide in scale. Among these exports, Anyue lemons accounted for 128 million yuan, marking a 78% year-on-year growth and representing over 90% of the total lemon and lime exports in the province. This also took up over 85% of the total fruit exports from the province.

Specifically, Anyue lemons have been primarily exported to 12 countries, including the Philippines, Russia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, and Saudi Arabia. Most notably, the exports to the Philippines and Russia constitute 56.8% and 20.8% of the total value, respectively. In 2023, the exports to the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam grew fastest for Anyue lemons, with year-on-year export value increases of 553% and 119%, respectively.

The success of Anyue lemons in becoming the top export fruit from Sichuan with an export value of over 100 million yuan is attributed to the competitive yield and prices.
In 2023, in Anyue County, Ziyang City, known as the "capital of lemons in China", the lemon cultivation area reached 480,000 mu, with an annual yield of 530,000 tons and a comprehensive yield value of 15.434 billion yuan. The planting size and yield of Anyue lemons both account for over 70% of the country's total, and its domestic market share registers higher than 80%.

What is the demand trend for lemons? The Report on the Development of China's Lemon Industry in 2023 recently released by the Institute of Agricultural Economics and Development of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences mentions that global lemon yield has maintained an upward trend. Fresh lemon consumption still dominates, while the proportion of processed products is gradually increasing, leading to a more diverse product portfolio. Particularly, the demand for processed lemon products like citric acid, citrus pectin, and lemon essential oil is on the rise.

Anyue County has 29 lemon deep processing enterprises, offering over 200 products ranging from lemon face masks to lemon essential oil and concentrated lemon juice. (Reporters Chen Bihong, Gao Jing)

Export: Oranges

The "Sweet Road" for Meishan Oranges to Go Global

Recently, Qingshen County, Meishan City, celebrated the Sub-event of the 2023 Sichuan Flowers (Fruits) Ecotourism Festival &7th Late-Maturing Orange Festival of Meishan City and the 13th Ponkan Festival of Qingshen County.

Differing from previous editions, the cooperation agreements signed at this year's Orange Festival were all related to foreign trade. For example, Qingshen County Agricultural Development Investment Co., Ltd. signed a trade cooperation agreement with HI WAY PIONEER GmbH from Germany; Sichuan Wainong Fruits Co., Ltd. signed an orange purchase and sales agreement with Anyuan Huiming Agricultural Development Co., Ltd. Meishan oranges are leveraging e-commerce platforms to expand their reach overseas.

Zeng Yong, Chairman of Meishan Wainong E-commerce Co., Ltd., made an introduction to its orange export business at the Modern Agriculture Demonstration Park in Qingshen County. He exported over 6 million US dollars worth of oranges to Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and other foreign countries last year. Qingshen County, known as the largest pollution-free ponkan production base in Sichuan, maintains an orange cultivation area of 180,000 mu. By the end of 2023, the county had 21 registered orange export bases.

In addition to Qingshen County, Danling County also has oranges exported to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. Residents there have snapped Danling oranges up out of their love for the taste of the fruit.

Two trucks loaded with 30,000kg of Renshou oranges departed from the Renshou Economic Development Zone in Sichuan to Canada through the Shenzhen port in Guangdong.

According to Sichuan Dancheng Modern Fruit Industry Co., Ltd., which participated in this Orange Festival, the purchasing price of oranges for export is nearly 50% higher than that of oranges sold through conventional channels, reaching up to 6 yuan per kilogram. "The purchasing price of oranges might see a slight increase as time progresses."

"To sell oranges at a good price, the quality must be good." According to Liu Ruxiang, Secretary of the CPC Committee and Director of Baijiachi Village, Gaotai Town in Qingshen County, precise management is crucial to orange cultivation. For instance, while some areas typically use only one layer of protective bag for Ehime No. 38 jelly oranges, many farmers in Baijiachi Village opt for two layers of protective bag. This practice ensures fruit quality while also extending the time the fruit hangs on the tree, allowing for staggered selling and better prices.

Li Xuesong, head of the Spring Orange Planting Professional Cooperative in Hudu Community, Baiguo Township, Qingshen County, shares a similar perspective. He introduced that the cooperative recently obtained approval as a registered export base. While selling fruits to foreign markets can yield higher profits, strict export standards compel the cooperative to strengthen management, enhance production standards, and improve fruit quality.

Technology-empowered production and new varieties development both allow the expanded market for Qingshen oranges. Locally developed orange cultivars like Lemon Oranges and Pumpkin Oranges, nurtured over many years, have been extensively marketed and are favored for their unique flavors.

For many years, Qingshen County has regarded late-maturing oranges as the pillar of the agricultural industry, prioritizing base construction, product processing, quality branding, and technological support. It has propelled the construction of the entire industry chain and driven the intensive and large-scale development of modern agriculture and forestry, aiming to boost farmers' incomes. Last year, the total output value of oranges in Qingshen County reached 2.1 billion yuan.

 
 
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