It’s cherry season in China now and there is nothing better than champing on some sweet tasting cherries for summer.
On the online shopping platforms, cherries imported from overseas have been well received by Chinese consumers, of which mostly are from Chile. The price of Chile cherries (32+mm) on China’s online shopping websites is equivalent to about $55 per kilogram, revealing enormous profit potential. Pakistani cherries, with beautiful appearance and high sweetness, can’t miss the chance to enter China, one of the largest consumer markets in the world.
“Pakistani cherry looks quite good and the color turns dark when it matures. At present, cherries of dark color are especially loved by Chinese customers,” Wang Zhihua, General Manager, Shaanxi Jinguo Cherry Industrial Development Co., Ltd. told CEN.
More importantly, “there is a time difference of 10 days to half a month between most Chinese cherries and foreign cherries’ maturity. Therefore if Pakistani cherries can enter the Chinese market, there’re profitable opportunities,” Li Wei, Business Representative, Huazhilong International Trade Co., Ltd. said. In addition, as he sees it, the big temperature difference between day and night as well as the adequate sunlight in Pakistan confers more competitiveness on Pakistani cherry’s taste.
So far the cherry planting area in Pakistan has exceeded 2,500 hectares, and Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan are the two main cherry-producing places. It is learned that GB region produces 4,000 metric tons of cherry per season, and local consumption is limited. If GB’s cherries can enter China, the export value can be huge.
“When the pandemic ends, Pakistani cherry should have the chance of being exported to China,” Li Wei said.
Before being allowed to export, many Chinese enterprises are eager to help Pakistani farmers with leading technologies to let their cherries better prepared for entering China.
In China, virus-free cherry seedlings, having the advantages of healthy root system, robust growth and high survival rate in field planting, are being used to realize high and stable yield. “We take the stem tip of a cherry bud. When its diameter grows to 0.02mm, we extract it from a special nutrient solution, and let it expand to 10 times and 100 times and become a virus-free cherry seedling, with which the main cherry tree diseases can be prevented,” Wang Zhihua said.
Chinese agricultural experts also shared their experience of the pesticide application. “During early flowering, pesticides must not be used. Once pesticides are applied, bees will fly away as soon as they smell them, which will greatly affect pollination,” Lv Pinghui, Professor, College of Forestry, Northwest A&F University said. “In the evening, poplar and willow branches sprayed with 50% malathion EC and 50% phoxim EC 1000-1500 times can be erected in the orchard clearing, which can trap and kill scarab beetles. Appropriate intercropping of spinach and rape in cherry orchard in spring can also help trap pests and then kill them with pesticides,” he added.
Due to the limitations of fresh keeping and logistics technology, which need to be updated simultaneously, cherries in GB valley are hard to reach Karachi, let alone China thousands of miles away.
“It can only survive for 6 to 7 days. You can keep it safe at a maximum of one week. We used our old traditional ways to transport these cherries to the markets. However, it caused many loses,” Muhammad Ali Akbar, Pakistani fruit businessman told CEN.
Chinese companies are making efforts to deepen cooperation with Pakistan in cherry cultivation and transportation. With advanced Chinese technology, they hope Pakistan’s high quality cherries could arrive China soon.
“At present, with our orchard management technology, we are able to make Pakistani cherries’ variety, appearance and quality better. We will also send technicians of inorganic fertilizer bagging, picking, disinfection and transportation to Pakistan. Moreover, we have our own logistics team. Next year, in Pakistan, we will put great emphasis on developing the cold chain technology of agricultural products,” Li Wei said.