Avocado cultivates prosperity in China-Myanmar border county

(Xinhua) 16:37, December 13, 2023

KUNMING, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- In the China-Myanmar border county of Menglian, nestled in southwest China's Yunnan Province, waves of avocado trees adorn the scenery, with their green fruits swaying gently in the wind.

Shen Weiguo, a former entrepreneur, carefully gathers these fruits and places them in his basket. "I was once involved in various enterprises, but later I observed the burgeoning growth of the avocado industry in my hometown. Then I decided to join the bandwagon of this thriving sector," said Shen, who is now a major avocado grower in the Menglian Dai Lahu and Wa Autonomous County.

Avocados have gained increasing popularity among China's urban residents in recent years as they pursue healthier lifestyles. Referred to as "forest butter," avocados were almost entirely imported into China in the past. However, Menglian in the city of Pu'er has since emerged as a significant source of domestically-grown avocados, and is currently the leading county in China in terms of both avocado planting and production.

This year's fresh avocado output in Menglian county is expected to surpass 10,000 tonnes, with an estimated output value exceeding 300 million yuan (about 41.8 million U.S. dollars).

Beyond its use in fresh food and milkshakes, locals creatively blend avocados with regional cuisine to craft avocado banquets.

"Though some dishes still need refinement, there's a concerted effort to diversify avocado consumption," Shen said.

"Avocado has a simple taste and needs complementary ingredients to enhance its flavor," said Chen Haixin, the executive chef of Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts in the provincial capital Kunming, who has a culinary focus on avocados spanning 12 years.

Once, when in the process of making cold dishes, Chen hollowed out an avocado and paired it with a type of Yunnan native tomato. The dish distinctly highlighted the avocado flavor and garnered acclaim among consumers.

Amid the surge in avocado popularity and production, companies in Yunnan are embracing more efficient approaches in handling the fruit.

In the workshop of Pu'er Lvyin Biological Co., Ltd., avocados undergo procedures including cleaning, disinfection, and drying before entering a sorting machine. This machine's intelligent system then categorizes and grades the fruits based on color, shape, size and weight.

When the sorting process is complete, the avocados are transported to different lines according to their grades, where workers arrange them in boxes for uniform packaging, preparing the fruit for nationwide distribution.

According to the company, the workshop can deal with 5 tonnes of avocados per hour, significantly enhancing the efficiency of the sorting process.

"Avocado has become a pivotal source of income growth for the county's residents," said Han Bo, deputy chief of Menglian county, adding that the local government has assembled teams of experts dedicated to advancing research, development, and seedling breeding, to create a favorable environment fostering the robust development of the avocado industry.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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