Tongnan lemons now speeding to world
David Adamia first traveled to Tongnan District in southwest China’s Chongqing in November, to look for new lemons for his company.
After touring of several lemon growing bases in Tongnan, the sales director of Russia Green Planet Co Ltd signed a 600-million-yuan (US$85.2 million) order with a local company.
Shortly after that, fresh lemons were loaded on a China-Europe freight train in Chongqing and appeared in Russian markets after an eight-day trip.
Tongnan and its surrounding area is one of the world’s top lemon producing regions.
Its lemons, however, have not been known in the international market because of the time and cost of freight from the landlocked area.
“Cargo from Tongnan used to take at least 40 days to reach Moscow but fresh lemons only have a shelf life of up to a month,” said Adamia.
Thanks to the China-Europe freight trains launched under the Belt and Road Initiative, Tongnan lemons can now reach Russia in eight days and Western Europe in 13.
Indonesia’s Hongyuanda Agricultural and Sideline Products Company recently placed an order of 600 million yuan for Tongnan lemons.
Thanks to the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, shipping time to Southeast Asia has been cut by over 10 days.
The lemon growing area in Tongnan has increased from 7,333 hectares in 2015 to over 20,000 hectares in 2019, with an annual output worth over 3 billion yuan. Last year, Tongnan produced around 350,000 tons of lemons, half of which were exported.
The local government has teamed up with enterprises to boost value-added production.
One company now makes more than 300 products, including lemon juice, beverages and facial masks.
“We are making efforts to accelerate the expansion of overseas sales channels,” said Chen Changshu, a district official.