Zhanjiang Special

Organic foods propelling city's economic growth

By Yuan Shenggao |  China Daily |  Updated:2024-03-07

湛江金鲳鱼迎来丰收,金鲳鱼产业成为湛江乡村振兴的重要支柱产业。 张锋锋 摄-2(1).jpg

Golden pompano has become a pillar sector in Zhanjiang's '100 counties, 1,000 towns and 10,000 villages' project, which is aimed at promoting rural vitalization and advancing the coordinated development between rural and urban areas. ZHANG FENGFENG/FOR CHINA DAILY

In the spring of 2021, Chen Wenqing, a young man from Suixi county in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, resigned from a well-paying job far from home to return to Zhanjiang and pursue a career in the city's burgeoning sweet potato industry.

Chen co-founded a company called Jiachun Agriculture Tech, which to date has planted 10,000 mu (666.67 hectares) of sweet potatoes and set up a high-end standardization center, an integrated processing plant, and China's largest sweet potato saccharification workshop, which breaks down the potatoes' complex starch carbohydrate into simple sugar. Priced at 24 yuan ($3.35) per kilogram, the company's special "volcano sweet potato" has become a top seller on domestic e-commerce platforms such as JD.com.


Pineapples grown in Zhanjiang's Xuwen county are known at home and abroad. CHINA DAILY

"With our refined management and differentiated development strategies, we have gradually changed consumers' impression of sweet potatoes as coarse tubers," Chen said, adding that Zhanjiang's sweet potatoes are comparable to high-end fruits in terms of price.

According to the local government, the sweet potato industry has become one of the primary means for farmers to boost their income. In 2023, more than 900,000 mu of sweet potatoes were planted in the city, with the total yield of 1.49 million metric tons, and the gross output value of the industry exceeded 4 billion yuan.

In addition to sweet potatoes, Zhanjiang is renowned for its high-quality pineapples, mangoes, red oranges and many other agricultural products. In January, the city listed the organic food industry as its pillar industry.

Liu Hongbing, Party secretary of Zhanjiang, said the city has huge potential and promising prospects in the organic food industry due to its solid foundation and clear advantages.

Guangdong province has been implementing a "100 counties, 1,000 towns and 10,000 villages "project aimed at promoting rural vitalization and advancing the coordinated development between rural and urban areas, and Liu has called on all departments and regions in the city to seize the opportunity to continue to develop the green food industry for the benefit of local residents.

Liu said more efforts should be made to build a research institute for organic food technologies and create an effective cooperation mechanism between governments, enterprises, colleges and institutes.

Zhanjiang is also an aquaculture powerhouse, famous for its advanced aquaculture technologies, efficient deep processing factories and leading cold chain logistics systems. Official data shows the industry has an annual output value of 70 billion yuan, with more than 1 million people employed.

In recent years, Zhanjiang has been committed to deep-sea and offshore aquaculture, aiming to become a model city for modern sea ranching. Currently, it has five deep-sea cage mariculture parks and 3,563 deep-sea cages, which account for 70 percent of the province's total, according to local officials.

As well, three artificial reef projects are under construction in the city's national sea ranching demonstration zone.

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