CHENGDU, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Thanks to high quality, low prices, and increasing overseas orders, lemon exports in Anyue County, dubbed China's "lemon capital," surged from September 2019 to August 2020, data showed.
The export volume of Anyue lemons quadrupled to more than 130,000 tonnes in the period, according to statistics from the lemon industry development center of the county in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
The total lemon output reached 610,000 tonnes in the 12-month period, with an output value of about 13.1 billion yuan (around 1.92 billion U.S. dollars), according to the center.
"From the Spring Festival holiday to May this year, workers often had to work overtime due to the soaring overseas orders," said Jiang Changwei, in charge of Sichuan Weiji Fruit Co., Ltd. "Almost all lemon-exporting factories in Anyue were overworking to complete orders."
The surging orders mainly came from the Middle East, West Asia and Europe. In the Middle East, the number of export destination countries has increased from three before the COVID-19 epidemic to 11 now.
Tian Zaize, director of the lemon industry development center, attributed this boom in Anyue lemon exports to its price advantages and China's prompt and effective control of the epidemic situation.
Besides, the outbreak has raised awareness of the health benefits of lemons and stimulated consumption, noted Tian, adding that the Anyue lemon is one of the most acidic lemon varieties in the world, with the acidity reaching 7.8 percent.
Standardized farming and a focus on the quality and safety of the produce has helped Anyue lemons garner more overseas orders. "As Anyue farmers gained more experience in standardized farming, the proportion of spoiled lemons has dropped significantly," said Jiang.
According to the center, this year Anyue plans to further promote the application of standardization farming technologies in the low and medium-yield orchards.
The brand of Anyue lemon is estimated to worth more than 18 billion yuan, said Yang Xiubin, director of the Sichuan Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, at the second World Lemon Industry Development Conference, which kicked off on Monday.
Anyue is one of the world's five largest lemon producing regions. The annual output of Anyue lemons accounted for more than 80 percent of China's total. As one of the first 100 geographical indication (GI) products in China, Anyue lemons were included in the recently signed Sino-European agreement on GI. Enditem