Organics gain ground in China

10/31/2003 12:00:00 AM
Lance Jungmeyer

The firm has been pursuing organic certification of bamboo shoots, peaches and pears, according to the site.

From Qingdao to the world: When Wang Lin’s organic vegetables leave the packing plant, tucked tight in an ocean-ready container, they face an eight-hour haul or more, from the plant in Taishan township in Shandong province to the port city of Qingdao, gateway to the West, and outlet for much of the prolific province’s agriculture.

A common load is asparagus, perhaps bound for trendy restaurants in Tokyo. The sorts of places where chefs literally throw rejected product back at you. The sort of places that will pay for organics.

Wang saw the light about five years ago, when he made a switch after years of growing conventional vegetables. He wanted to get into high-value crops, so he chose organics as a niche, which fit into the central government’s plan to help improve the environment while still creating economic growth.

Now he is president of Taian Taishan Asia Food Co. Ltd., Taian City, which, in addition to exporting garlic and some fresh vegetables, is a major provider of frozen organic vegetables under U.S. brands such as Trader Joes.

But he’s increasingly looking to the fresh organic market to provide growth in exports. About 20% of his firm’s product, including carrots, broccoli, potatoes and yams, is sold fresh, mostly to Japan and Singapore.


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