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Gannan Navel Orange Output Reaching 1.3M Tons This Year!--HZAU-Enterprise Cooperation Boosts China`s Citrus Industry

“Latest statistics show that the citrus acreage in China, larger than that of apple, comes up to over 2,530,000 hectares with an output of more than 35 million tons. Citrus industry is very likely to be the biggest domestic fruit industry at the end of the 13th Five-Year Plan,” said Cheng Yunjiang, executive director of Chinese Society Citriculture/Citrus (CSC) and dean of College of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences of Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU) to reporter of Southern Metropolis Daily. Citrus fruits grown in more than 800 counties of 22 provinces, municipality cities and autonomous regions in China, where Gannan (south of Jiangxi Province) navel orange is well-known for its high quality, popularity and good reputation. Gannan navel orange is a specialty of Ganzhou (in the south of Jiangxi Province), which is the No. 1 navel orange producer in China and boasts the largest cultivation area in the world. The acreage of Gannan navel orange at present amounts to 133, 000 hectares and its yield is expected to reach 1.3 million tons this year.
The growth and development of Gannan navel orange owes a great debt to HZAU, whose leading expert Prof Zhang Wenchai made enormous contribution to its development in south Jiangxi Province in the early 1980s, Cheng told the reporter. Prof Zhang and other experts of HZAU promoted the growth of Newhall navel orange introduced from US in Gannan region after repeated experiments on the local climate and soil as well as comparison between the domestic and international markets, boosting the citrus industry and meanwhile enriching the local people.

Prof Zhang’s student Deng Xiuxing, President of HZAU, an academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, then took the relay baton of providing technical supports for developing Gannan navel orange. President Deng later on passed the baton to his student Cheng Yunjiang, a core member of the Ganan navel orange experts and thus under their leadership a team from HZAU has turned Ganzhou a practice and innovation base for the development of Gannan navel orange. They, together with other experts in Citrus Research Institute of Southwest University, have made Gannan navel orange the “superstar” out of its own kind all over the world.


Gannan navel oranges jostling each other on the trees from Comprehensive Prevention and Control Demonstration Base of Critrus Huanglongbing in Zhongshi Village, Yuan'an County, Ganzhou City,Jiangxi Province

Economic benefits attributable to Gannan navel orange inspired local people to grow this fruit in a massive scale. However, excessive cultivation severely disrupted the ecology of the region. After 2010, massive acreage, poor management and young sapling carrying pathogens ultimately resulted in an outbreak of Huanglongbing (a disease of citrus caused by a vector-transmitted pathogen. The causative agents are motile bacteria, Candidatus Liberibacter spp) which led to brutal acreage and output cuts. HZAU provided Gannan region with a batch of carefully lab-nurtured virus-free citrus nursery stocks to curb the spread of Huanglongbing at source. Moreover, the experts found the natural enemies of the disease and taught the local farmers how to control it. Now, Huanglongbing has nowhere to be found in quite a wide range.
Meanwhile, HZAU has been cooperating with Anyuan County Chenghuang Modern Agriculture Development Co., Ltd. (Chenghuang) and Jiangxi Reemoon Agriculture Development Co., Ltd. (Reemoon) in fruit storage and technological development. According to Ouyang Haihua, Chairman of Chenghuang, the company constantly improves its storage technology and has already minimized the loss in storage within three percent with the help of HZAU experts. Chenghuang now has dozens of shareholders as compared with ten in 2009 and the turnover has been on the upswing from tens of millions yuan to 200 million yuan. The citrus industry has truly enriched and benefited the local farmers through its chain operation.
Chenghuang’s fruit sorting machines are basically from Reemoon, the biggest electronic sorting equipment manufacturer in China, which has stepped into “4.0 era” of fruit sorting, capable of detecting the internal quality of the fruit in addition to its shape, color, weight and other qualities. Fruit decay is always a hot potato for citrus industry. The antiseptic water treatment equipment developed by Reemoon and HZAU can decrease rotten rate dramatically, said Xiao Lili, director of the general manager office of Reemoon to the reporter. Because of this technology, the shelf-life of navel oranges have been prolonged to five months or more at normal temperature from the normal two or three months.

News source:
Edited and translated by Tang Liming
Supervised by Zeng Wenhua