China's food producers are receiving surging orders from Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hurt the agricultural sector of Japan and the ensuing nuclear radiation raised consumers' concerns about the safety of home-grown products.
A slew of food companies in China, especially producers of agricultural and seafood products, had found themselves overwhelmed by the increases in orders from Japan, the Shanghai Securities News reported Thursday.
The disaster hit a region which produces at least 20 percent of Japan's total output of wheat, meat, and vegetables, the newspaper reported, citing official data.
Sunner, a food company in southeast Fujian Province, said its export of chicken products to Japan had more than doubled in the month since the quake, Zhou Hong, the company's general manager told Xinhua.
Due to the sudden increase in demand, Sunner would fail to meet orders of 400 tonnes of chicken products from Japan for June alone, while its total exports to Japan for the last four months of 2010 totaled 670 tonnes, said Zhou.
Sunner became one of the 35 qualified Chinese exporters of chicken meat products to Japan last September. Zhou expected the total exports of chicken products to Japan would reach 5,000 tonnes in 2011.
Chinese-made chicken products accounted for 55 percent of Japan's total imports of chicken products in 2010, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Radiation from the crippled nuclear power plant has also raised public concerns about Japanese seafood products among Japanese consumers, boosting demand for Chinese alternatives.
Shandong Oriental Ocean Sci-Tech (Oriental Ocean), one of China's leading firms engaged in the breeding, raising, processing and export of aquatic products, has been trying its utmost to meet the rising demand.
Yu Dehai, secretary of the chairman of board of Oriental Ocean, told Xinhua that, since the earthquake hit Japan, the company had been overwhelmed by "surging" orders for seafood products from Japanese clients.
"Some customers offer higher prices for our products, but we are still not able to meet the drastic increase in demand, and we are starting to focus our attention on making high value-added products," said Yu.
Shandong Homey Marine Development, another food company in the eastern province in proximity to Japan, said it was hiring dozens of more workers to work "in full load" to boost production and ensure delivery.
Meanwhile, customers of the Republic of Korea (ROK), which used to be an important market for Japan's seafood products, were also turning to Chinese alternatives, said Zhu Changliang, executive head of aquatic product trade association of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.
Although the final figures for March were scheduled to be published in late April, orders for seafood products from Japan and the ROK would continue to rise this year, Zhu forecast.
"Many members of our chamber have reported shortage of hands and tight goods storage since mid-March due to rising demand from Japan," the China Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products said in a written statement to Xinhua.
Chinese food making sector gained the most among all sectors in Thursday's stock market with shares of Oriental Ocean surging by the daily limit of 10 percent.
Stocks of CNFC Overseas Fishery, a leading company in China's fishing industry, jumped by 7.01 percent to 11.1 yuan per share. Stocks of Sunner jumped 4,26 percent to 18.86 yuan per share.