China's fruit farmers hurt by lockdown losses
China’s fruit farmers, hurt by lost crops from coronavirus lockdowns and a slow recovery in demand, are looking to reduce plantings, switch crops or even take other jobs to cover their losses, Reuters reports.
Quarantine measures to curb the spread of the virus have disrupted supply chains and labor, preventing many farmers from harvesting produce or selling any they could salvage.
China is the largest producer of many fruits, accounting for over half the world’s apples and roughly 70% of all grapefruit, peaches, tangerines and pears, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, although most is consumed locally.
Hardest hit have been small farmers without access to cold storage or those producing quick-spoiling produce such as cherry tomatoes and strawberries.
Wang, a strawberry farmer in Shandong province, was forced to dump over 10 ton of produce - worth half a million yuan (US$70,000) - over the past two months as lockdown measures halted transport and prevented workers from returning to his farm after the Lunar New Year, a key production season.
He plans to halve his acreage to 10 mu (1.65 acres) this year to cut costs.
“Prices have plummeted. I couldn’t get my strawberries out, consumers who wanted to buy couldn’t get them either... I have suffered huge losses,” Wang told Reuters. “Right now I can only cut my acreage.”
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