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China: Production of eco-friendly apples on an industrial scale is problematic

Chinese apples enjoyed an abundant harvest this year. Although a small number of apples still suffered from moldy core disease, the overall conditions are much better than in previous years, though production areas in Shandong did suffer from drought. The production volume and product quality in Shandong were affected by these weather conditions. Manager Li of Shandong Yantai Li Lijun Ecological Farm recently talked about the apple market conditions this season and the trends in apple plantation.

"Apple production areas in Yantai suffered from quite severe drought during this apple production season. The weather conditions had a definite impact on the overall production volume, but because this year was a "bumper year", the overall production volume still increased in comparison with last year. As for the product quality this year, the apples are of regular size and their appearance is beautiful. Their sugar content is around 15%-16%. About 5% of the apples were affected by moldy core disease. That is somewhat better than the conditions in recent years. We expect to begin supply of our ecological Fuji apples around the 15th of November. The price of our apples depends on the size. We sell a gift package of 80# apples for a market price of 98 yuan [13.92 USD] per box (of 10 apples). We also sell 90# apples for a market price of 168 yuan [23.87 USD] per box (of 12 apples)," explained manager Li.

Li Lijun Ecological Farm has an apple orchard in Yantai, Shandong, that covers an area of 3.6 hectares. "Our production volume is relatively small, so we decided to aim for the high-end market. Our premium apples are mostly sold to organic supermarkets and high-end fruit stores in such first-tier cities as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. We also sell quite a few apples to state enterprises. Our sales channels are quite rigid and the price of our apples is quite stable throughout the years. We do not experience major market fluctuations."

"Chinese living standards are rising and consumers have more disposable income. They are not only interested in fruit with great flavor, but they attach importance to the environmental impact and the nutritional value of the fruit they buy. We are therefore paying careful attention to the perfection of ecological techniques both in plantation and retail. We work hard to increase the biodiversity in our orchards, both above ground and in the soil itself. We also allow the apples to self-regulate. While our orchard is capable, under the right conditions, of an annual production volume of 4,500 kg, we purposefully limit the production volume to 2,500 kg. This improves the nutritional value of individual apples and also raises the sugar content, the acid content, and the fragrance," explained manager Li. When asked about the future trends in the ecological apple industry, manager Li answered, "the scale of rural capital and the level of technology in the ecological apple industry is still small. Producing ecological apples on an industrial scale is problematic."

In addition to ecological apple production, Li Lijun Ecological Farm also produces online videos for the dissemination of ecological plantation methods. Their channel reaches nearly 90 thousand fans.

For more information:

Li Lijun - Manager

Li Lijun Ecological Farm

Tel.: +86 13105200606 

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