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Distinctive pineapple industry proves sweet success for southern city

Updated: Apr 25, 2023 By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou China Daily Print
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Farmers display pineapples at a plantation in Xuwen, Guangdong province. CHINA DAILY

Driving 50 kilometers north from Xuwen Port, the world's largest roll-on/roll-off passenger terminal, there is another sea to be found — one of fresh pineapples.

At this time of year, farmers in Xuwen county of Zhanjiang, in the western coastal area of Guangdong province, are busy harvesting pineapples.

"Xuwen produces a lot of pineapples, grown over 23,000 hectares, and because they are processed locally in a variety of different ways throughout the year, it gives Xuwen a market advantage," said He Qiyang, director of the Xuwen bureau of agriculture and rural affairs.

Qujie township of Xuwen, which has long been known for growing pineapples, was included in a national model list for the development of distinctive rural industries last year. The township has experienced "quality rural development", and had a gross domestic product of more than 1 billion yuan ($145 million) last year, according to local officials.

The village of Yugonglou in Qujie township was one of 11 villages in Guangdong named national models for rural development with distinguished industries. Each of these villages had a GDP of over 100 million yuan last year.

While visiting a village on April 11 during his inspection trip to Guangdong, President Xi Jinping, said distinctive rural industries have broad prospects.

The country had a total of 505 townships and villages selected as models for rural development as of last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

In 2022, Xuwen's production of pineapples reached a record 796,000 metric tons, worth about 2.5 billion yuan, according to the local agricultural authority.

In the domestic market, sales of fresh pineapples have grown steadily, the local authority said, adding that they launched a monthlong promotion event in Beijing at the end of March, aiming to expand sales of pineapples in the northern market.

The fruits have also been exported to countries including Japan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and the United Arab Emirates. In a recent development, five tons of pineapples were shipped from Xuwen to Singapore for the first time in February, making a breakthrough in connecting with markets in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

"We have established trade platforms and multiple channels for pineapple farmers and companies to expand their sales at home and abroad," said Yang Fanfan, deputy Party chief of the Xuwen bureau of agriculture and rural affairs.

According to Yang, the county has developed 17 processing companies for smaller pineapples, which have greatly promoted sales in the domestic and overseas markets.

Authorities in Qujie, which has an annual pineapple production volume of 260,000 tons, have established operation, big data, pricing and trading information centers and helped farmers to introduce more varieties.

"The introduction of more high-quality varieties of pineapples and increased processing capacity have helped us boost production and sales," said Chen Ruyue, a local farmer.

In 2017, Chen started planting gold pineapples, a variety with more sugar content and pure yellow and gold colors.

"Gold pineapples have become hot sellers in the market in recent years," he added.

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