China Agri News Week 33, 2020

This is the news overview of week 33 from the agricultural team of the Netherlands Embassy in Beijing.

Floods Continue to Torment China’s Agriculture

Heavy flooding has engulfed huge swathes of southern China. Surging floodwater burst the banks of Poyang Lake in Jiangxi province last month, destroying thousands of acres of farmland in what's known as the "land of fish and rice." The broader Yangtze River basin — which includes Poyang Lake and stretches more than 3,900 miles from Shanghai in the east to the Tibetan border in the west — accounts for 70% of the country's rice production.

The flooding that affected more than 5 million hectares of cropland is the worst that China has experienced in years. China's Ministry of Emergency Management pegs the direct economic cost of the disaster at $21 billion in destroyed farmland, roads, and other property. Some 55 million people have been affected (source: Freshplaza).  


Coronavirus found on frozen seafood packaging in Chinese port city

Traces of the coronavirus have been detected in two Chinese cities on food and packaging imported from South America. In Xian, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi province, a sample of packaging on frozen shrimp from Ecuador tested positive for the pathogen on Wednesday night, provincial authorities said on Thursday. Meanwhile, authorities in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, said they had found the coronavirus on the surface of frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil.

Despite experts saying that it is highly unlikely that covid19 is spread through food or packaging, China has given nucleic tests to all people that have been in contact with the shipments. In addition, all sold products are being tracked, and packaging and storage areas of similar products are being sanitized. Whether south American countries or specific companies will be banned from exporting foods to China, or what will happen to the “contaminated” food is unknown (source: SCMP).  

Chinese President is calling for Reform to Battle Food Waste

Following President Xi’s call last Tuesday for the country to change its habits concerning food waste, Zhang Guilong, an official of China’s top legislative body, said the government will formulate regulations on preventing food waste through various means.

“We would strengthen the management of all aspects including grain production, purchase, storage, transport, processing, and consumption,” Zhang was quoted as saying on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, China’s anti-corruption watchdog.

Agricultural experts have said food wastage is severe in China and legislation was needed to change people’s dining habits. An investigation in 2018 by the Institute of Geographic and National Resources Research and the World Wide Fund for Nature estimated that Chinese consumers in four large cities had wasted 17 to 18 million tons of food served in 2015 – enough to feed 30 to 50 million people for a year (source: SCMP). 

Short News:

  • Asia Fruit Logistica will be held online on November 17, 2020 (source: Asia Fruit China). 
  • Thailand's COVID-19 Epidemic Control Center (CCSA) announced on August 10 that Thailand has had no new confirmed cases for 80 days. Therefore, the CCSA expert group agreed to allow Chinese traders to return to Thailand to buy fruit and export to China.
  • Cross-border e-commerce B2B export testing pilot was launched in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and other 10 customs offices on July 1. Since then, 3.904 million votes/bills were released in the first month.
  • In the second quarter of 2020, the overall pass rate of agricultural product sampling inspections reached 97.1%, an increase of 0.3% over the same period last year (source: Farmers’ Daily, August 8th).
  • According to customs data, the export volume of concentrated apple juice in the first half of the year reached 245 thousand tons, a year-on-year increase of 140%. The total value of the exports reached a total amount of US$254 million, a year-on-year increase of nearly 99% (source: International Fruit).

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