The quality of red Fuji apples in Shandong is below standard this season because the weather conditions were not favorable for apple plantation. The overall price is in decline. Manager Li of Shandong Yantai Li Lijun Ecological Farm Co., Ltd. talks about the conditions in the apple industry and the apple market.
"Looking at the conditions in Shandong apple production areas this year, we can easily describe the weather this season as the greatest drought in a century. This has an impact on the quality of our apples. The quality is below standard. Many apples show spots. Even though the flavor of the apples is actually better than in previous years, the flawed appearance caused the price of apples to fall from the price of 6 yuan [0.85 USD] per 0.5 kg last year to the current price of 2-3 yuan [0.28-0.43 USD] per 0.5 kg. In addition, the ratio of top-quality apples is relatively low this year," explained manager Li. "The ratio of top-quality apples in Yantai production areas was around 60%-80% in previous years, but this year there are only a handful of top-quality apples on every tree."
"As for the problems with moldy core disease, this year around 3%-5% of the overall production volume is affected with this disease. That is slightly more severe than last year. All the red Fuji apples in our production areas are produced with eco-friendly plantation methods. As for the price, a gift box of eco-friendly 80# apples sells for a market price of 98 yuan [13.94 USD] per box (of 10 apples), while the 90# apples sell for 168 yuan [23.98 USD] per box (of 12 apples)," according to manager Li. "Our main retail channels include e-commerce platforms as Beijing Organic Farmer's Market, Shanghai Yimi Fair, and Guangzhou Wotu Factory. To be honest, the retail speed of our apples is only half the speed of last year. We began delivering apples on November 15th and so far we have sold around 2,000 boxes. Feedback from e-commerce platforms shows that deliveries are slow because there is not enough consumer power."
"The living standard of Chinese consumers is rising. Consumers are not just looking for great flavor, they also value natural plantation and nutritional value. We therefore continue to improve our cultivation methods, while we keep producing and selling our apples. We improve the biodiversity above the ground and in the soil of our apple orchards. We also implement strict selection of our apples. During the period when our trees are in peak-production we have a potential production volume of 4,500 kg per 0.07 hectare, but we manually limit the production to 2,500 kg. Not only does this increase the volume of minerals in every apple, but the sugar content rises by 1.2 % and the sourness by 50%," explained manager Li. When asked whether eco-friendly plantation will become an important trend in the apple industry, manager Li replied, "eco-friendly plantation is still restricted to small-scale production because natural resources are limited and the current level of technology is insufficient. Scaling eco-friendly apple plantation still presents serious difficulties."
In addition to apple production, Li Lijun Ecological Farm also broadcasts online seminars on eco-friendlyl apple plantation techniques that attract close to 90 thousand viewers.
For more information:
Li Lijun - Manager
Li Lijun Ecological Farm Co., Ltd.
Tel.: +86 13105200606