xi's moments
Home | Society

Yan'an apples' popularity literally out of this world

By Qin Feng in Xi'an and Zhao Ruinan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-13 09:22

A farmer harvests apples in Yan'an, Shaanxi province. [Photo provided to CHINA DAILY]

When the crew of the Shenzhou XVIII manned space mission takes a break, they can enjoy a special treat — apples from Yan'an, Shaanxi province.

The astronauts have enough of the apples, an essential part of the spaceship's fruit supply, to last for about six months.

"Fresh Yan'an apples are making their eighth trip to space," said Liu Jiangtao, assistant general manager of Yan'an Huasheng Modern Agriculture Group, the supplier of the apples.

On April 25, China launched the spaceship to send three astronauts to its orbiting Tiangong space station for a six-month mission.

On May 28, the astronauts conducted their first spacewalk outside the station.

"To ensure the quality of the 'flying apples', we strictly control each production step, including ensuring the precise use of pesticides and fertilizers and conducting rigorous tests to ensure the quality of the apples," Liu added.

Yan'an is well-known for apple growing. It sits at a high altitude and has thick soil, ample sunlight, significant temperature variations and moderate rainfall, making it an ideal apple production base.

One in every 10 apples in China comes from Yan'an. The city has the largest high-quality apple production base in the country, employing more than 1 million people.

The base benefits about 800,000 farmers, with the apple industry accounting for about 60 percent of the net income for families farming in the region.

In recent years, the Yan'an government has focused on the industry, promoting eco-friendly, standardized and high-end production techniques. This has led to the development of its Yan'an Apple and Luochuan Apple brands.

Last year, the city launched a three-year plan to build a national high-quality apple development zone. They created over 40 demonstration zones in 13 counties, established water-conserving apple production bases and renovated 11,333 hectares of old orchards.

"In 2023, production of Yan'an apples hit a record high of 4.55 million metric tons, with a fresh fruit output value exceeding 26 billion yuan ($3.6 billion)," said Lu Shuguo, head of the city's fruit industry center.

Each year, over 60 percent of Yan'an apples are sold to high-end markets both domestically and abroad, according to Wang Jianfeng, deputy head of the fruit industry center. The apples are exported to more than 30 countries and regions, including Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Canada, with annual online sales exceeding 4.4 billion yuan.

Wang said Yan'an will continue to help farmers increase their incomes and accelerate the development of its high-quality apple production zone. "By 2025, we expect the apple-growing area in the city to stabilize at 3.3 million mu (220,000 hectares), with production reaching 5 million metric tons. Our goal is to make Yan'an the largest and highest-quality apple production cluster in the country," Wang said.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349