Sunflower seeds from N China's Inner Mongolia blossom on global stage

(People's Daily Online) 13:31, February 08, 2024

(Photo/People's Daily Online)

Wuyuan county, located in Bayannur city, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is the country's largest sunflower planting county, accounting for approximately 14 percent of national sunflower seed production.

The primary regions for sunflower cultivation in China include Inner Mongolia, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and Gansu Province, with Inner Mongolia alone contributing over 60 percent of the country's sunflower cultivation areas.

Bayannur city, situated in Inner Mongolia, is recognized as the largest area for edible sunflower cultivation in China. In 2023, the sunflower planting area in the city surpassed 4.1 million mu (273,333 hectares), yielding a total sunflower seed production of 896 million kilograms.

Wuyuan benefits from favorable natural conditions, including abundant daylight, significant temperature variations between day and night, the simultaneous occurrence of rainfall and warmth, and fertile soil.

All 2.57 million mu of Wuyuan's arable land is irrigated with water from the Yellow River, which significantly improves the quality of the sunflowers grown in the area.

In February 2016, the "Wuyuan Sunflower" was recognized as a registered geographical indication trademark in China.

To meet the stringent standards set by Wuyuan county, sunflower seeds must possess specific characteristics. They should have a consistent color, be free from scorching or impurities, and display a full and plump shape. The taste should be pure and fragrant, with a crisp texture and no impurities. Furthermore, the seeds must meet precise requirements for freshness, acidity, safety from toxins, and overall cleanliness.

(Photo/People's Daily Online)

To guarantee the quality and weed out substandard seeds, processing companies in Wuyuan implement an exhaustive selection process. This involves several steps, including the removal of stones, grading, and color sorting. After passing through nine machine selection stages and two manual inspections, only 0.2 to 0.4 kilograms of seeds are selected from every kilogram of sunflower seeds, demonstrating the stringent measures in place to ensure the superior quality of Wuyuan sunflower seeds.

The Hongding Agricultural Market, located in Wuyuan, is the largest sunflower trading market in western China. It also serves as the national center for sunflower price formation. The market's reach extends to regions such as Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, as well as Gansu, Jiangsu, Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi, Shanxi, and Hebei provinces.

Today, sunflower seed products from Bayannur have become a leading export among specialty agricultural products. They are sold to over 40 countries and regions, including the U.K., the U.S., Germany, Australia, Egypt, Thailand, and Iran.

Sunflowers hold great significance in Wuyuan county, serving as both a pillar industry and a cultural symbol. Known as the "hometown of sunflowers," the county is home to the largest sunflower park in the country and a sunflower scenic area.

From July to October each year, visitors and photography enthusiasts flock here to witness the blooming sunflowers and immerse themselves in the unique beauty of the Hetao Irrigation Area.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Hongyu)


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