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Guizhou reaps sweet gains with efforts in thorn pears

By ZHU WENQIAN in Beijing and YANG JUN in Guiyang | China Daily| Updated: 2022-05-19 Print


Farmers harvest thorn pears in Panzhou, Guizhou province, in August. [Photo provided to China Daily]

By leveraging advantages such as subtropical climate and fertile soil, the mountainous province of Guizhou in Southwest China hopes to become a national commercial center for rosa roxburghii, or thorn pear, a local signature fruit with a sweet and sour flavor.

In March, Guizhou Hongcai Junong Co, a major retailer of the fruit in the province, passed the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, the world's highest standard of this kind, becoming the first rosa roxburghii retailer in Guizhou to get certified.

The Panzhou-based company said the certification indicates that it received approval to sell the fruit in wider overseas markets, and it has sent the fruit for quality checking in the United Kingdom and Singapore. In late 2019, it exported rosa roxburghii juice to France, which didn't require the BRC certification for exports.

Last year, the company's sales reached 235 million yuan ($34.8 million). In the first four months of this year, the company achieved sales of 101.6 million yuan and net profits of 15.5 million yuan. Orders secured have hit 150 million yuan, according to the company.

In 2018, the company established an industrial research institute of rosa roxburghii to further raise the fruit's quality and market competence. The center cooperates with China Agricultural University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Guizhou University and a number of bioengineering companies in research and development.

The center has developed more than 50 derivative products related to rosa roxburghii, including sugar-free beverages, alcohol and vinegar. The center has also applied for 93 patents and 40 copyrights, it said.

"This year, the research institute will focus on developing lyophilized rosa roxburghii, lyophilized fruit with yogurt or chocolate, rosa roxburghii jelly, facial masks, toothpaste and sweets," said Li Guirong, general manager of Guizhou Hongcai Group, the parent of Guizhou Hongcai Junong.

"We have developed more than 200 distributors and more than 100,000 sales outlets nationwide. We will continue to expand sales at physical stores and through e-commerce platforms, and drive consumption growth with new business formats," Li said.

The retailer has established nine production lines, including four juice production lines. In 2021, the company acquired 22,600 tons of the fruit and produced 14,100 tons of juice, and both figures were the highest in the province. This year, the company is expected to acquire 26,000 tons of fruit and produce 13,000 tons of juice, it said.

Meanwhile, since late 2018, herbal tea maker Guangzhou Wanglaoji Great Health Industry Corp started to use rosa roxburghii to develop a kind of beverage with high vitamin C content, which helped to drive industrial growth of the fruit in Guizhou.

"Rosa roxburghii is a healthy fruit. Next, we will continue to develop the beverage that uses it as raw material, and further help boost local industrial development with the power of brand reputation and marketing efforts," said Xu Wenliu, president of Guangzhou Wanglaoji Great Health Industry.

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