Cold hits orange crop hard in Jiangxi

Updated: 2016-01-29 09:31


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The bitter cold snap that swept the nation in recent days caught many orange growers at midharvest in one of China's major fruit production areas, where more than 50 farmers faced the possibility of total crop failure.

Temperatures fell to historic lows in several provinces in South China over the weekend, including Jiangxi province, where in Huichang county more than 1 million kilograms of oranges and grapefruits were still hanging on the trees when freezing rain struck.

The county, dubbed China's "home of oranges and grapefruits" by the China Fruit Marketing Association, has a yearly production capacity of more than 5 million kilograms of oranges and grapefruits.

"It was sleet like we haven't seen in decades. And it made the harvesting and sales of oranges more difficult than ever," said Guo Wenfeng, a 54-year-old orange farmer in Nanzhai village, Zhulang township.

Many fruit dealers are concerned about the quality of the fruit, and have been unwilling to honor the contracts they signed with farmers, Guo said.

Huang Jie, deputy head of the county government, said officials have been contacting online fruit sellers and dealers on behalf of the farmers, but the lingering weather has affected quality and made sales difficult.

However, two online fruit dealers that learned of the stagnating orange sales in Huichang placed orders for about 250,000 kilograms of oranges.

E-commerce platforms also came to the rescue, purchasing 150,000 kg of oranges. Additional orders are pending for another 350,000 kg, sources said.

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