“Across the country, Chinese garlic growers are being forced to spend more on the production of garlic as the cost of labour rises. While other countries, like the nearby South Korea are investing in machinery to aid the garlic production, China still heavily relies on manual labour in this cultivation.”
As the price of garlic has also been dropping over the last few years, Mr Li fears this will cause Chinese garlic growers to switch to more mechanised productions. “It makes sense to do so. Why produce a crop that is losing you money when you can switch to a cultivation that is cheaper to produce and has better prices? I expect many Chinese garlic growers to switch over the next few seasons.”
Mr Li’s company, Huanguang Food, sell garlic all over the world, from South East Asia, South Asia, Japan, the United State to the Middle East and Europe. Because of the many storage possibilities for garlic, they can supply all year round, despite the growing season only running from October to May. But the exporter says they face increasing competition to the European market.
“The garlic production in Spain is increasing enormously. The produced 20% more this year compared to last, which is huge. The government encourages the production, and they are more modernised, which means they do not face the labour costs we do. This means that on the European market, they can sell at cheaper prices than we can, as they also do not face import taxes, as they are within the EU.”