Though it harvested 20m tonnes of citrus fruits last year, China also imported some 21,000 tonnes of mandarins—a 10% increase over the previous year.
This leaves the door open for Israel’s Jaffa Orri to enter the market, after Israel’s Plant Production and Marketing Association announced it had set its sights on Far East expansion.
“We expect to dramatically increase sales volumes,” says Tal Amit, head of the citrus sector at the PMA, adding that Chinese consumers were fond for fresh produce and prepared to pay more for premium mandarins.
Looking to find areas of growth outside the well-established big markets of western Europe, the industry group was buoyed by reports of trends in China.
“The growing demand for mandarins in China encourage us to conduct market research in China and Japan to learn about Jaffa Orri's potential in these markets, including e-commerce outlets,” said Amit. The PMA hope to transform this research into a strategy soon after its April release.
According to the industry group, China is the world’s biggest e-commerce market, with lightning growth spurred in part by sales of fresh fruit online.
Between 2014 and 2018, online sales of fresh produce are expected to grow from nearly US$4bn to US$16bn, and account for 15% of all produce sales in China.
The channel is quickly becoming the preferred way for consumers wary of the quality of local produce to buy fruit. This is especially the case among young professionals in its main cities.
The Jaffa Orri mandarin was developed by scientists at Israel’s Volcani agricultural research centre to be easy to peel with a fresh, sweet flavour. Like other Jaffa oranges, the Orri has minimal seed content and long shelf life.
It also has a long harvest season of four months, which is double the length of the typical harvest for most mandarins.
China’s mandarin and tangerine production, which represents over two thirds of global production and consumption, is expected to fall by nearly 1m tonnes this year due to citrus greening and unfavourable weather.
“This can be a great opportunity for Jaffa Orri, especially since we successfully increased production in 2017, along with extending the shelf life,” added Amit.
More stories from China…
ADM to ramp up feed production with new production lines across China
Two new feed production lines will bolster Archer Daniels Midland’s China footprint at a time when demand for protein is growing rapidly.
The agriculture major will continue to expand its animal nutrition supply chain in China with a new feed-premix facility in Hunan province, and the addition of aquaculture feed production lines at an existing complex in Jiangsu Province.
Brent Fenton, president of ADM’s animal nutrition division, said the company was focusing on areas of growing demand as part of its expansion strategy.
“Population growth and higher disposable incomes are continuing to support increased animal protein—and thus animal feed—demand in China,” Fenton said.
The Hunan facility brings to five the number of ADM’s animal-feed plants in the country, and will help supply growing demand from Hunan, Hebei and Guangxi provinces in central China.
Employing around 120 people, the Xiangtan plant will have an annual capacity for 120,000 tonnes annually of premix, concentrate, animal-complete, and fish-complete feeds.
The four additional aquaculture lines in Nanjing will be able to produce 50,000 tonnes of extruded and pelleted feeds during the aquaculture season, which runs from April to September.
ADM is targeting completion of both projects in early 2019. Their opening will follow that of another new premix plant, in the southern Fujian province, which is expected to be complete by summer 2017.