Fresh-cut flower industry thrives in SW China’s Yunnan

(People's Daily Online) 13:28, March 20, 2023

Southwest China’s Yunnan Province boasts a burgeoning fresh-cut flower industry thanks to rich floral germplasm resources and favorable climatic conditions that ensure the production of flowers through all four seasons.

People visit the Dounan Flower Market in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province, Jan. 31, 2023. (Xinhua/Chen Xinbo)

Yunnan has topped the country for 28 consecutive years in terms of the production and sales volume of fresh-cut flowers. It currently produces 16.7 billion stems of fresh-cut flowers annually.

Nearly 11.04 billion stems of fresh-cut flowers were sold at the Dounan Flower Market in Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan, in 2022, according to data from the management committee of the Kunming Dounan International Flowers Industrial Park. The market saw its trade volume hit nearly 12.15 billion yuan (about $1.762 billion) last year. It sells more than 1,600 varieties of fresh flowers from 117 categories every day. More than 70 percent of fresh-cut flowers sold in China come from the market.

The Dounan market has brought together over 2,200 enterprises and sellers and 46 logistics companies, said Duan Lubin, a member of the management committee, adding that there are more than 80,000 flower farming households, nearly 12,000 cooperatives, and over 10,000 flower brokers associated with the market. According to Duan, the market mainly provides three forms of trading: face-to-face transactions, auctions, and e-commerce.

The Kunming International Flora Auction Trading Center (KIFA) at the Dounan Flower Market has become the largest flower auction market in Asia and the second largest in the world, explained Zhu Qi, an executive of the planning department of KIFA.

“The price index of fresh-cut flowers at KIFA is a barometer of China’s flower market,” Zhu said.

Workers pack flowers at the Dounan Flower Market in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province, Jan. 31, 2023. (Xinhua/Chen Xinbo)

At present, more than 3,000 fresh-cut flowers from over 40 categories, such as rose, Barberton daisy, Baby’s Breath, lisianthus, carnation, and Hydrangea, are traded with the rest of the country and over 40 countries and regions including Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Russia, and Australia through auction transactions.

In Kaiyuan city, Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan, a digital platform that covers the entire flower industry chain empowered by digital twin technology was put into operation in the city’s national modern agricultural industrial park in May 2021.

Zhang Haibei was one of the first flower farmers to use the digital platform. Zhang explained that intelligent sensors were installed in his flower greenhouse. Since then, he has been able to monitor in real time the growth of flowers in the greenhouse and knows exactly when to water them and the amount of fertilizer that should be used through a mini program on his mobile phone. “I can also consult experts through the program. It’s so convenient,” Zhang said.

Since the beginning of this year, orders for fresh flowers received by the national modern agricultural industrial park have increased significantly. So far, the park has sold 6 million stems of fresh-cut flowers and over 30 million flower seedlings.

In recent years, Yunnan has strengthened the protection and development of floral germplasm resources and supported the introduction of flower varieties and the breeding of new varieties. At present, the province has independently developed over 400 new varieties of flowers.

Founded in 2004, the Flower Research Institute of the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences is so far the largest institute in terms of flowers and horticulture in China.

To advance technological innovation, the academy has established 25 national-level and provincial-level platforms, including the international flower technology innovation center near the Dounan Flower Market, according to Cai Yanfei, a researcher at the academy.

A worker transfers flowers at the Dounan Flower Market in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province, Jan. 31, 2023. (Xinhua/Chen Xinbo)

The innovation center has established a green and efficient flower planting base, which is responsible for the collection and preservation of floral germplasm resources, germplasm innovation, the breeding of superior varieties, and the development of green and efficient planting techniques.

The base has collected and preserved over 1,000 flower varieties, such as Chinese rose, lily, lisianthus, camellia, dahlia, orchid, and malus spectabilis, and has bred eight new flower varieties through gene-editing breeding and rapid breeding methods. In addition, it has succeeded in carrying out asexual propagation techniques for Rosa cvs, lisianthus, and lily, and has bred over 1.5 million seedlings of new Chinese rose varieties.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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