Across China: Farmers reap fortunes in China's "hometown of lychees"

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GUANGZHOU, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Early summer is one of the most enchanting seasons for the city of Maoming in south China's Guangdong Province, as the harvest season for lychees has begun in the country's largest lychee production base.

"Since the fruit hit the market, Maoming has been receiving a continuous influx of orders for lychees from across the country," said Zhang Xianfeng, head of a lychee cooperative in Baiqiao Village in Maoming's Genzi Township. "We now receive about 500 orders every day. During the next peak harvest season, we expect to see up to 3,000 orders every day."

Lychees are a signature fruit in Maoming, dubbed the "hometown of lychees." Here, 85 percent of farmers are engaged in the lychee industry, with a planting area of over 1.39 million mu (92,700 hectares) for more than 80 varieties.

In the past, the proportion of high-quality varieties of lychees from Maoming was less than 40 percent, but after large-scale cultivation, the city's high-quality varieties of lychees have accounted for 80 percent.

In recent years, Maoming has vigorously developed an integrated industrial chain encompassing plantation, production, processing and sales of lychees to increase the fruit's added value and boost farmers' incomes.

Amidst the busy harvest of fresh lychees, the processing factories for various lychee derivative products are also buzzing with activity.

Zhai Hongping, deputy director of the equipment management department of Guangzhou Wanglaoji Health Industry Co., Ltd., informs that their factory is currently running at full capacity. "Through our automatic juicing production lines, we can process 200 tonnes of fresh lychees into canned lychee drinks every day," Zhai said.

The thriving lychee processing industry provides farmers with stable sales channels. "We have signed a long-term purchase agreement with cooperatives, which provides a sales channel guarantee for lychee growers," Zhai added.

To overcome the challenge of selling the perishable fruit to buyers located far away, Maoming has collaborated with logistics enterprises and adopted innovative cold chain logistics technology. These efforts have yielded fruitful results, enabling the successful export of lychees to 19 countries and regions.

"We use the room temperature long-acting preservation technology in transportation, which extends the preservation period of lychees at room temperature from two days to seven days," said Ruan Xifeng, vice general manager of the purchasing department of Guangdong GuoXing Cloud Warehouse Supply Chain Co., Ltd.

Besides tapping into overseas markets, Maoming has also actively expanded online sales channels by venturing into e-commerce and live streaming. Last year, Maoming saw lychee sales rise 14 percent despite a 6 percent drop in production, thanks to the diverse sales channels.

At present, the output value of the lychee industry chain in Maoming has exceeded 11 billion yuan (about 1.56 billion U.S. dollars), and the per capita income of the major lychee-producing townships is 30 percent higher than the average of the whole city, creating 150,000 new jobs.

"Many people have made their fortune by engaging in the lychee industry. My family now owns a five-story house and lives a prosperous life," Zhang said.

At a lychee plantation in Baiqiao Village, an awe-inspiring sight awaits with over 1,000 ancient lychee trees that have stood tall for over 500 years, alongside an impressive count of 19,000 trees that have graced the land for over a century.

"We have tailored protection strategies for each ancient tree to preserve the assets left by our ancestors. The traditional industry will usher in new development opportunities," said Zhuang Yuequn, Party chief of Maoming. Enditem

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