China: Increase in winter peach season

"This year's winter peach production season started two weeks ago. In a cold storage room with a temperature 2°C below zero, the peaches can be preserved until January next year. This means that this variety of winter peach can remain on the market 5 months longer than regular summer peaches, because those usually are only on sale from June until the end of August. Compared to the same period last year, the production of winter peaches has increased by 67% this year. But the market price has gone down by 20%," says Mr. Zhao Rongliang, from Shandong Linyi Yunduo Agriculture Cooperative.

67% more output
"After a few years of experience in experimenting and breeding throughout China, the cultivation of our winter peaches has already reached the stage of large-scale development. This year we produced around 2 million tons, an increase of the output by 67% compared to last year. We have benefited from the absence of rain and the high ratio of fruit growth. When looking at the current scale of the cultivation and the general circumstances, we estimate that the production on an annual basis for next year will reach 4.5 million tons."

The market price dropped 20%
"The price of the winter peaches has dropped by 20% compared to the same period last year. The main reasons are that the supply amount on the market has increased and the cultivation costs have gone down. Currently, with the inclusion of packaging price and the cost of transport, the prices on wholesale markets are: 40 RMB per kg for excellent apples, 25,6 RMB per kg for A grade apples, 17,6 RMB per kg for B grade apples and 13,6 RMB per kg for C grade apples."

High cultivation costs 
"Winter peaches need to grow for a long period of time. They are grown every year from April 4 until November 4. Compared to other summer varieties, they are fresh and firm and pretty sweet. They also have a long shelf life, which compensates for the short preservation time of regular peaches. Since the winter peaches have to grow for a long time and the required investments are rather big, not many farmers choose to cultivate winter peaches. Those farmers who do cultivate them all opt for a large scale cultivation. And still, there is a lot of space between supply and demand on the market."

"This cooperative started cultivating winter peaches in 1988. Right now, it owns 800 hectares of cultivation ground, spread over 7 provinces, all over China. Among these, the smallest cultivation ground is 6 hectares and the largest cultivation base is located in Jining in Shandong province with a surface of 73 hectares. Most of the winter peaches we produce are sold to high-end markets in first-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Canton, Shenzhen etc. under the brand name, 'Langya Feimi'. Of these peaches, no less than one third is sold through online platforms. We work together closely with an express delivery company, so we can guarantee that our products are delivered to the customer in the shortest time possible. The other two thirds are sold through direct cooperation with fresh produce enterprises."

Online platform boosts sales 
"In order to further expand the market sales, we founded the Shandong Ainong E-Commerce company. It operates by the 'internet + cultivation base + customers' model. It realises quick sales straight from the production region to your table. This reduces the costs for customers and enterprises and it also preserves the freshness of the winter peaches. Moreover, we actively work together with retired members of the community for direct sales."

Industrialised development awareness yet to be strengthened
"China is the country with the largest production of peaches and Linyi is the place of origin for peaches in China. At present, Linyi has an orchard with a cultivation area that exceeds 60,000 hectares. But the people who practice the trade lack the insight to develop the industry. In order to increase the awareness of the people towards winter peaches, the local government plans to establish a market platform. On October 22, 2016, the 2016 Langya Feimi Winter Peach Harvest Festival, and first edition of the China Linyi Winter Peach Industry Exhibition Forum, is being held at the Lanshan district's Peach Garden Farm. These events last until November 22 and in the meanwhile, experts of the forestry department will explain to everyone who is interested about the development of the peach industry. For other experts in the industry, this is also a good opportunity to participate and become a member."

Zhao Rongliang
Shandong Linyi Yunduo Agriculture Cooperative
Telephone: +86 1506 9911 120

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