Taizhou loquat harvest season kicks off

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-05-06

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A farmer picks loquats in an orchard in Taizhou, East China's Zhejiang province. [Photo/taizhou.com.cn]

The harvest season for loquats in Taizhou in East China's Zhejiang province recently got underway.

These loquats, which can cost up to 100 yuan ($15.38) per kilogram, are mostly grown in greenhouses, and the price will likely fall after those grown in the open hit the market, according to Chen Sangsang, who owns a loquat orchard in Hongjia sub-district, Taizhou's Jiaojiang district.

Rong Jianrong, who runs a fruit cooperative in Xiaochou village, Tongyu sub-district, Taizhou's Luqiao district, said he expects a bumper harvest this year because of the warm climate.

However, the recent spate of COVID-19 outbreaks could affect the sales of loquats, as most of the fruit is sold outside Taizhou, said Chen.

In previous years, Chen's orchard could sell more than 1,000 kilograms of loquats per day during the peak season. This year, however, the daily sales volume has fallen by half or more due to the outbreaks.

Ying Chaohui, director of the Huangmaoshan Loquat Cooperative in Taizhou's Huangyan district, shares the same concerns as Chen.

"Loquats will only stay fresh for a week after they are harvested. The sugar content drops significantly after a week, meaning they don't taste as good as they should," Ying said.

After learning of this problem, the local government has assigned officials to ensure the smooth transportation of local agricultural products, including loquats.

This year, the loquat plantation area in Taizhou spans more than 60,000 mu (4,000 hectares), according to the Taizhou municipal agricultural technology promotion center.

Taizhou's Luqiao district, which is the biggest producer of loquats in China, has been growing the fruit for more than 800 years. The district's output of loquats accounts for a quarter of the national total.

Loquats produced in Luqiao have been designated a geographical indication (GI) product by the National Intellectual Property Administration.