The ongoing coronavirus outbreak in China has undoubtedly caused severe damage to the produce industry. On the one hand, fresh fruits are flying off the shelf, on the other hand, due to insufficient logistics, fruit cannot be transported to the market, resulting in serious losses on the farmers’ side. Li Ying, head of Qingxin Fruits in Qingyang City, talked about the status quo of the fruit market.
"Although the government has allowed some companies to resume business from this week, local policies remain stringent. At present, our sales staff are working from home, and most workers are unable to return to work due to objective reasons such as road closures. There are also very few people in the wholesale markets currently. Although some courier services have resumed business, due to road closures in many regions, products cannot be shipped from farmers even if there were orders,” Li said.
"Our online store started shipping today, mostly for orders that we couldn’t send during the Spring Festival. At present, our sales online are very large. We released 500 units (5kg) of apples and they were gone within one minute. Despite the fast sales, compared with the sales volume of 40,000 to 50,000 units during the same period of last year, we are still facing a very serious slow-sale situation. At present, we still have 3 million kilos of goods left in the cold storage. The consumer demand is in fact very high, but we can only ship limited quantities due to objective factors such as insufficient packaging capacity and limited logistics. Our online prices have not increased, currently at 4 yuan/half a kilo for fujis. "
“The Spring Festival should have been the peak sales season for fruit, but due to the breakout, most traders were unable to ship on time. It’s fine for products with long storage lives such as apples and kiwis, but seasonal fruits such as strawberries, mangoes, and watermelons are not doing well. There have been few traders from other regions in China to make orders. In addition, due to breakout control measures and impaired logistics, farmers have not been able to ship goods, leading a large volume of fruit to rot on trees and in the ground,” Li said.
This week, Qingyang Qingxin Fruits participated in the “Agriculture Support Activities from Foodies” initiative, which is a campaign jointly launched by Taobao’s Foodie Channel and 1688’s Yixian Yipin to help farmers find sales outlets. "We have also issued announcements on multiple online platforms such as WeChat to inform the public that they can contact us if they have agricultural products that need to be sold in a timely manner.”