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Lower Harvest Volumes for Chinese Pomelos but Higher Prices

September 05, 2019

Pomelos from the major production areas in China, such as Heping county of Fujian province and Meizhou county of Guangdong province, are currently entering the market. As a result of weather conditions earlier in the season, the total production volume is expected to be lower this year while prices should be higher. Pomelos from areas such as Hainan province, which ripen earlier than those from other regions, are also expected to fetch high prices this year owing to better product quality, despite a good harvest.

Produce Report has learned that although the volume (in tons) of pomelos from Meizhou will be lower this year, the fruit quality has improved. Rain in February was not conducive to pollination, and unusually high rainfall in April destroyed some fruit during the early stages of their growth. Consequently, the number of pomelos produced in Meizhou is anticipated to be 30% lower this year. However, the reduced number of fruits per tree means that each fruit received a greater share of nutrients and hence the average fruit weight should be higher.

Overall, Meizhou’s total production volume (in tons) of honey pomelos this year is expected to be 20% lower than last year, while that of the Shatin variety will be 10% lower. Meanwhile, the production of Shatin pomelos in Shaoguan county of Guangdong province is also anticipated to be 20% lower. In August, the price of red-fleshed pomelos in the fields remained above 4.0 Chinese yuan per kilogram, while white-fleshed pomelos are expected to cost approximately 3.0 yuan per kilogram, 15% higher than last year’s price.

In Heping county, the production of honey pomelos is expected to be 25–30% lower than usual owing to the hot weather during pollination, with fewer flowers blossoming leading to fewer fruits. The situation was even more dire in mountainous areas 400–500 meters above sea level, where rain and fog limited the effectiveness of artificial fertilizers and made it more difficult to prevent the flowers from dying prior to fertilization and fruit formation. Consequently, while orchards in lower areas should be able to achieve a harvest similar to last year’s, a more severe drop in production volume is expected for mountainous areas.

Another reason contributing to the decreased production this year is the decision of some farmers to switch from growing white-fleshed pomelos to red-fleshed pomelos for economic reasons. Some white-fleshed pomelo trees have been cut down and replaced with red-fleshed pomelo trees. Although the total volume will be lower this year, the growers’ more advanced planting methods have afforded superior fruit quality. According to Zhang Qingcheng, general manager of Pinghe Youguan Fruits Company Ltd. in Zhangzhou, the prices of honey pomelos are expected to increase this year to approximately 4.0 yuan per kilogram.

Li Yongsheng, chairman of the Meizhou Pomelo Association, believes that this year’s selling period will be longer than usual owing to the greater gap between Mid-Autumn Festival and China’s National Day and that prices will also be higher. According to some local growers, the contract price for red-fleshed pomelos has risen by 0.4–0.6 yuan per kilogram this year, while higher-quality pomelos have attracted increases of 1.0–1.6 yuan per kilogram. Online shoppers paid 8.0 yuan per kilogram for red-fleshed pomelos last year, whereas this year’s price is anticipated to reach 9.0–10.0 yuan per kilogram. Meanwhile, the net price for white-fleshed pomelos was 2.4 yuan per kilogram last year, whereas this year’s contract price is expected to reach approximately 2.8–3.0 yuan per kilogram.

Honey pomelos from Hainan entered the market around June 25 this year, over 20 days earlier than in previous years. Local wholesale prices ranged between 7.6 and 9.0 yuan per kilogram, which is considerably higher than last year. Hainan’s pomelo harvest was already complete by the second half of July, before pomelos from other production areas had even started to enter the market. Liang Feng, director of the Hainan Pomelo Growers Association, explained that Hainan’s warm weather throughout the year helped the pomelo flowers bloom and ensured good development of the fruits.

Last year, the total production of pomelos in Hainan was approximately 5 million tons, whereas this year’s total reached 9 million tons. Further increases are anticipated for 2020 as new orchards attain full production. In addition to this volume increase, pomelo quality is improving owing to enhanced planting technologies. Compared with last year’s rainy weather, the dry weather this year helped increase the sugar content of the fruit, thus improving their quality. This year’s wholesale price for early-season red-fleshed pomelos at the production source was approximately 8.0–9.0 yuan per kilogram. Meanwhile, the late-season wholesale price ranged between 7.0 and 7.6 yuan per kilogram, a substantial improvement over last year’s 4.0–6.0 yuan per kilogram.

Image: Baidu

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.