Passion fruit offers fresh start to once polluted county

(Xinhua) 08:57, June 03, 2024

Wang Xiuzhen (R), head of Fujian Youxuan Agricultural Development, helps farmers sell passion fruits via livestream at a passion fruit seedling-raising base in Wuping County, Longyan, east China's Fujian Province, Aug. 26, 2023. (Xinhua)

FUZHOU, June 2 (Xinhua) -- In early summer, Luo Qiliang was pleased to see his orchard full of vitality, with passion fruit vines producing lush foliage and climbing trellises.

This is the eighth year that Luo has grown passion fruit in his home county of Wuping in the city of Longyan, east China's Fujian Province. "I planted more than 60 mu (4 hectares) of passion fruit, with an average profit of about 15,000 yuan (about 2,110.06 U.S. dollars) per mu last year," he said.

Located in a mountainous area, Wuping has less than 1 mu of arable land per capita, and local farmers previously earned a living through planting cash crops and raising pigs.

However, small-scale pig breeding has caused pollution in the surrounding rivers. Around 2014, the local government encouraged farmers to shift their livelihoods to planting passion fruit.

Wuping's climate, which features ample sunshine and abundant rainfall, is suitable for growing golden passion fruit, a popular variety in the market, according to Lin Wenming from the county's agriculture and rural affairs bureau.

"So we organized farmers to visit major passion fruit producing areas like Guangxi and Hainan and started to plant the fruit," Lin said.

Wuping's passion fruits are of high quality and have proved popular in the market, a fact that has encouraged the rapid development of the industry in the county. Eight standardized seedling-raising bases have been built in the county, along with more than 30 fruit processing centers, forming a complete industrial chain.

In 2023, the county's passion fruit planting area amounted to 1,920 hectares, with an output of 35,000 tonnes.

"The river used to be quite dirty and smelly, but now it's clear," Lin said, while noting that this is a result of the county developing its industry in line with local conditions.

Wuping's passion fruit industry also rides the waves of e-commerce. According to Wang Xiuzhen, head of Fujian Youxuan Agricultural Development, a local enterprise specializing in planting and selling passion fruit, the company saw its passion fruit orders on the e-commerce platforms of Alibaba, China's e-commerce giant, exceed 200,000 in a single day last year, hitting a record.

According to Wang, the company has also introduced more production lines to turn out additional products, such as dried passion fruit and passion fruit yogurt. "Passion fruit can be made into biological feed and it also has medicinal value, representing its huge potential market," Wang added.

In recent years, the local government has made efforts to promote the brand image of "Wuping passion fruit" by monitoring the production process to ensure quality. Related events have been organized to boost local tourism, promoting the integrated development of primary, secondary and tertiary industries.

Wang Xiuzhen (R), head of Fujian Youxuan Agricultural Development, instructs a farmer to transplant passion fruit seedlings in Wuping County, Longyan, east China's Fujian Province, April 5, 2023. (Xinhua)

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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