Lixian Richshine: investment in 15,000 ton apple storage facility

CA storage taking off in China

November is the end of the apple harvest season in China. The apple market is currently not yielding good returns. Annual production volumes keep growing each year. In addition, improved storage facilities enable producers and packers to keep their crop off the market longer.

Market speculation is not uncommon. In 2014, apple prices were so favourable that growers kept their products in stock, hoping for prices to rise further. As a result, current apple volumes on the market (old and new) far succeed demand.

Lixian Richshine is a company from Lixian County in Hunan Province that grows and packs apples. Liang Zhao is the director and owner of the company. He explains what trends are shaping the Chinese apple market and how his company is positioning itself. Liang Zhao: “we pack and ship apples to domestic and overseas markets virtually all year around. We invested in advanced controlled atmosphere storage facilities and in research to understand different storage needs of the three different apple variety we grow.”

Controlled Atmosphere storage rooms at Lixian Richshine

“Our Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage facility has a capacity of 15,000 tons. In addition we run a sorting and packing area of 7,500 square meters. Apples are ideal fruit for long-term storage. Apples contain stored carbohydrates. These carbohydrates convert starches to sugars whilst taking in oxygen and discharging carbon dioxide. In our CA rooms we can regulate the temperature, natural gases including oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, and humidity levels. Temperatures are kept at stable levels between 0°C and 5°C degrees in accordance with the needs of different apple varieties. Humidity levels are maintained at 85% up to 90%. We place bins with apples in CA rooms directly after harvest. Once a room is filled, it is sealed and oxygen levels are reduced to slow down the respiratory processes of the apples. This preserves the freshness of the fruit.”

Lixian Richshine grows three apple varieties: Qinguan, Huaniu (also known as the Chinese Red Delicious) and Fuji. The Qinguan apple is harvested in the end of August and can be stored for approximately 7 months. Huaniu is harvested in September and Fuji in October and November. Fuji apples can be kept for almost one year.

Liang Zhou looks back with mixed feelings on the past year: “2015 has not been a good year for apples. For example, total production output for Fuji apples has increased by 20%. Prices, however, came down by 30%, compared to last year. Current export prices are 80 Yuan (€11.5) per 10 kg carton”.

Despite current market conditions, Liang Zhao remains positive: “Lixian County in Hunan Province is famous for its apple production. Ample sunshine makes our apples sweet and of an even colour. There is a large temperature difference between day and night, which can be as high as 15°C. This helps the high sugar content. We export to Bangladesh, Thailand, India, Indonesia and Singapore which generates a revenue of 10 million USD annually. In addition we supply the Chinese market for 4.7 million USD”.

For more information:

Mr. Liang Zhaop
Lixian Richshine Fruits & Vegetables
Contact number: +86 18368906586
Skype: yzjulietzhuye

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