Picking the profits from a sweet little earner

By Hu Dongmei and Wang Xiaodong in Yinchuan | China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-13 08:29
An aerial view of workers picking goji berries at a plantation in Wuzhong, NIngxia. [Photo/Xinhua]

Home of the berry

Goji, used as a healthcare supplement and an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, has traditionally been grown in Ningxia, the major production area of the berry in China.

In recent years, with a booming health products market driven by the rising number of middle class and young people, Ningxia's goji industry has been upgrading operations with sophisticated management and planting methods, and the development of new products.

Goji plantations in Ningxia reached 66,700 hectares in 2017 - about 360 times the size in 1949, when the People's Republic of China was founded.

Ningxia now accounts for 40 percent of the total area of goji production in China, according to Ningxia Goji Industry Development Center.

Total production of dried goji reached 180,000 metric tons in 2017, with the total value exceeding 15 billion yuan ($2.1 billion). In some areas of Ningxia, revenue from goji production accounted for more than 60 percent of farmers' incomes, the center said.

Goji producers have developed more than 100 food, medical and cosmetic products based on the berry, including beverages, wines, sauces, vegetable oil and tea, according to the center.

By the end of last year, the number of enterprises certified for goji export in Ningxia reached 48, including 31 that have gained organic certification from other countries.

The products were exported to more than 40 countries and regions, with dried goji berry accounting for 85 percent of total exports, the center said.

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