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Shanghai Strawberries Set Sights on Middle Eastern Markets

April 11, 2024

For more than 40 years, the town of Baihe near Shanghai has been famous for strawberry cultivation. In fact, Baihe strawberries are protected by geographical indication and enjoy a distinct reputation on China’s domestic strawberry market.

In an attempt to broaden their horizons, some of Baihe’s strawberry growers have recently started laying the groundwork for shipments to overseas markets. Shanghai Shumei Fruit Co. Ltd. is one such pioneer, which has obtained the necessary registration from customs authorities to grow fruit for export. At the end of March, the company shipped its first batch of strawberries to Hong Kong, comprising 36 boxes weighing 15 kilograms each, testing the waters for broader exports of Baihe strawberries to international markets.

Strawberries are the primary agricultural product cultivated by Shanghai Shumei Fruit Co. Ltd. on its 27 hectares of land, which is also used to grow corn, tomatoes and other crops. The total strawberry cultivation area in Baihe now spans over 420 hectares, yielding more than 10,000 metric tons annually. The typical production value reportedly exceeds 750,000 Chinese yuan ($104,000) per hectare, highlighting the status of Baihe strawberries as a high-value commodity and accounting for the continual growth in local production.

Baihe strawberries are typically planted in September, and the picking season normally lasts from mid-November until May. Last year, however, Shanghai suffered extremely high temperatures in October, causing the plants to enter dormancy. This delayed the sales period for Baihe strawberries, with berries from Anhui, Liaoning, Jiangsu and other provinces hitting the market first.

The weather anomalies that disrupted this season’s campaign, as well as big purchasers reportedly requesting excessive volume discounts, prompted the growers to turn their attention overseas. Middle Eastern markets in particular are regarded as having strong potential for future expansion given the difficulties associated with fruit cultivation in many parts of this region. The two countries in the region that produce significant amounts of their own strawberries are Egypt and Turkey, whose outputs of the fruit in 2023 totaled 597,029 and 546,525 metric tons, respectively. The remaining countries primarily rely on imported strawberries, among which Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates demonstrate the greatest demand.

Image: Unsplash

This article was based on a Chinese article. Read the original article.


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