Changshan gathers insights to improve agricultural development

By Zhang Jiaqi
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, December 10, 2019
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Changshan county in east China's Zhejiang province holds a high-level forum on industrial development and rural revitalization of its agricultural sector on Dec. 8, 2019. [Photo by Wu Xiaoshan/]

Changshan, a county in east China's Zhejiang province, is actively seeking better promotion and industrial development of its agricultural products by hosting a variety of exchange activities that bring together government officials, experts and company representatives from the province and beyond. 

The activities include a cultural festival from Dec. 7-9 and a high-level forum on industrial development and rural revitalization on Dec. 8. 

Changshan's county head, Zhang Shaohua, shared at the forum that the mountainous area at the upstream of Zhejiang's largest river has had a long history of producing camellia oil, and has also led to the cultivation of many other featured agricultural products like grapefruits and edible mushrooms. 

He said Changshan has put in a lot of efforts and achieved some successes in recent years in the promotion of its three major agricultural products. These products - grapefruit, camellia oil and edible mushrooms - are often referred to as the "Three treasures of Changshan". 

Zhang said that for its grapefruits, the county has scaled up cultivation, accelerated the introduction of grapefruit peels into traditional Chinese medicine, and promoted sales through e-commerce. As one of the leading producers of camellia oil, Changshan, he added, has pushed forward the formulation of quality standards and stepped up its efforts in developing trading platforms. For edible mushrooms, Zhang said that Changshan has worked to cultivate better varieties and developed brands with more influence. 

Now, the annual production value of grapefruits, camellia oil and edible mushrooms of Changshan are 1.2 billion yuan ($170.6 million), 1 billion yuan and 315 million yuan respectively.

Despite its achievements, Zhang invited the forum participants to share more insights and give suggestions to help Changshan better promote and develop its agricultural products.

At the forum, Lu Xianfeng, deputy director of the Zhejiang Forestry Bureau, highlighted that Changshan has promoted the integrated development of its primary, secondary and tertiary industries, especially in the camellia oil sector, and had already become a national trading hub and price-guiding center for camellia oil. However, he added that there is still a lack of investment, intensive processing and influential brands.

Lu suggested that Changshan put forward more policies, step up efforts in the technological application of the whole industrial chain, offer more financial support, and develop influential brands to bring the sector forward.

Sun Jun, chief expert on fruits at Zhejiang's agriculture authority, gave his suggestions on the grapefruit sector. He said Changshan should improve the varieties, enhance the quality and increase the influence of its grapefruits brands. He also called for the government and companies to work together in these areas. 

Cai Weiming, deputy head of the Horticulture Institute of the Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said that like the other two products, the edible mushrooms sector can be a driving force in poverty alleviation and rural revitalization. He suggested Changshan mount efforts in intensive processing and industrial production, introduce more mechanization in its processes, improve the division of labor, and extend the industrial chain. 

The former deputy president of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Zhang Lijian, suggested that the government give its agricultural sector more financial support and integrate the development of agriculture with traditional Chinese medicine. Currently, Changshan is already taking action in this direction. At the opening ceremony of the cultural festival, the local government and the Zhejiang Academy of Medical Sciences signed an agreement for comprehensive cooperation in developing the medical application of Changshan grapefruits. 

Zhao Zekun, director of the China Agriculture Film and Television Center, shared his thoughts from a consumer-oriented perspective at the opening ceremony of the cultural festival. He suggested that Changshan develop more agricultural products and make it easier for consumers to consume them, for example, finding an easier way to peel grapefruits. 

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Zhang Yuxiang, president of the Chinese Agri-products Marketing Association, called for Changshan to use multiple channels and methods to popularize its agricultural products and tell meaningful stories of Chinese brands to boost their value. 

The county has already signed sales contracts with chain supermarkets like Yonghui and Century Mart, and established an oil trading center to promote the sales and transactions of camellia oil. In addition, Changshan has also held cultural activities in recent years to popularize agricultural products and raise their profile, according to Zhang, the county head. 

In addition, Changshan is working to empower its agricultural sector and products through the application of different technologies and policies. It has also established partnerships with universities and research institutes to groom professionals and potential leaders of its major agricultural sectors. 

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