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Ripening 19,000 Boxes of Bananas Daily at Hongxing Global Agri-Wholesale

April 25, 2022

There was a time in China when the storage and ripening of bananas was a major pain point for fruit distributors and wholesalers. That was before high-capacity, modern banana ripening facilities had been built. Nowadays, owing to banana ripening operations such as the one that opened last year at the Hongxing Global Agri-Wholesale fruit trading center in the city of Changsha, the situation is much improved. Visitors to the bustling ripening facility at Hongxing can see shipments of ripened bananas continuously being dispatched to customers around China.

Hongxing Global Agri-Wholesale opened in early 2021 as a bigger and modernized upgrade to the Hunan provincial capital’s Hongxing Fruit Market. It serves as a key distribution point for fresh fruit in interior China.

Produce Report spoke to Zhang Bingzhi, general manager of Hunan Hongxing Yishu Agricultural Technology Co. Ltd., which operates the banana ripening center at Hongxing. According to Zhang, 20 million Chinese yuan ($3.1 million) was invested to build the ripening center, which started construction in November 2020 and was put into full operation in July 2021. It is one of the largest banana ripening centers in South-Central China, says Zhang.

The banana ripening center covers an area of over 6,000 square meters and is located on the first floor of the processing and distribution area at Hongxing Global Agri-Wholesale, comprising three large-scale freshness-preserving storage cells and 37 ripening chambers. The ripening chambers can accommodate more than 70,000 boxes of bananas.

Green bananas are inspected for quality upon arriving at the ripening center and only those that pass are allowed into the storage cells. The storage area is precisely temperature controlled within a range of ±0.5 degrees Celsius and features automatic ventilation, ethylene and carbon dioxide concentration monitoring, and other functions that temporarily halt the ripening process.

These stored green bananas are then slotted into a batched ripening plan according to the sales demand of customers. Once in the ripening cells, the bananas are fully ripened at the touch of a button using advanced imported technology and strong technical support from domestic scientific research institutes.

The ripening center’s ETH Ripening System by Interko of the Netherlands uses various methods to achieve uniform cooling and ethylene exposure, reducing dehydration and realizing uniform ripening of the whole banana. Probes are installed in each ripening chamber to monitor parameters such as pulp temperature in real time to ensure uniform coloring and good flavor while also achieving a longer shelf life.

Finally, the ripened bananas are transported to a distribution area for sorting, packaging and shipping. This distribution center offers consumer packaging in small portions to provide a one-stop processing, packing and transport service for group purchase and other e-commerce platforms.

As it encompasses the full ripening, processing and distribution process, the ripening center works together with the green banana trading capacity at Hongxing Global Agri-Wholesale to create a complete downstream supply chain solution for bananas. This integrated solution includes dynamic data monitoring and strict manual inspection procedures to realize a truly large-scale ripening model that is simultaneously highly standardized but also customizable according to customer needs.

The 19,000 boxes of ripened bananas shipped out of Hongxing Global Agri-Wholesale daily are mainly composed of imported bananas.

Images: Hunan Hongxing Yishu Agricultural Technology Co. Ltd.

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

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