Chongqing- "You may find more than 70 citrus varieties in the U.S. state of Florida and over 50 varieties in South Korea. However, at the Citrus Culture Time and Space Museum in a Chinese town, we have 398 varieties," said Wu Yanjie, the general manager of Chongqing Paisenbai Orange Juice Co, Ltd., during an interview with iChongqing on March 29.
The Citrus Culture Time and Space Museum is located in Xinli Town, Zhongxian County, Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality. Near the museum is the Citrus Industry International Collaborative Innovation Center, the largest citrus nursery center in the world. It can cultivate 3.5 million citrus nursery stock in quantities each year, higher than the 500,000 nursery stock for the United States.
Citrus is the first fruit crop in China and the world. China's citrus production and planting area rank first in the world. At present, more than 130 countries in the world have cultivated citrus.
With pristine rivers, exceptional hills, and plentiful rain, Zhongxian County enjoys a citrus planting history of 2,000 years and has produced a wide variety of orange, pomelo, and mandarin.
Located in the Three Gorges Project Reservoir Area, Zhongxian County is recognized as one of the most suitable areas for citrus cultivation globally. The other two are Florida in the United States and Sao Paulo in Brazil.
Zhongxian County has been working with Seagram Co, Ltd. since 1997 to plant and process the citrus in the county and has cooperated with Chongqing Three Gorges Construction Group Corporation in launching industrialization projects. Those efforts have promoted the modern transformation of the citrus industry.
Seagram was a Canadian multinational conglomerate. It was once the largest owner of alcoholic beverage lines in the world in the 1990s.
Pests and plant diseases in citrus cultivation are a major concern for farmers. Chongqing has explored its modern solutions with practices to solve global pest problems.
Above a large citrus grove, grid-like black pipes are hanging above each fruit tree—a multifunctional sprinkler between the two trees hangs down perpendicular to the pipes.
The sprinkler can spray water, pesticides, and pre-proportioned fertilizer directly to each citrus tree. This irrigation method is efficient and water-saving. In Xinli Town, 10,000 mu (667 hectares) of citrus groves are irrigated in this way.
In 2004, China's first not from concentrate (NFC) orange juice production line was built. After more than 20 years of development, Xinli town has formed an industrial production chain, sales, research, study, and tourism.
In the factory of Paisenbai, fresh citrus enters the production line. After cleaning, grading, juicing, and other procedures, it will transform into an original "zero-addition" fresh cold orange juice, which has been sold in most cities in China and exported to foreign countries like Japan and South Korea.
Not only orange juice, but the value of citrus is constantly being discovered on the production line.
Wu also explained that currently, they have three methods for citrus waste after juicing. Specifically, it is used for bacterial fermentation to make organic fertilizer, pig-feeding, and food additives.
In Zhongxian Xinli Citrus Characteristic Town, you can find 10 kilometers of walking trails around a lake and 21.3 kilometers of pastoral marathon corridors. Marathon enthusiasts can come here every April and enjoy running in the citrus blossoms' aroma.
Children can also find their fun in the Juyuanli Candy Town. Zhou Chongrun, the founder and CEO of Shanghai Xinze Holding Group Co., Ltd., came to Xinli Town from Shanghai and invested 400 million yuan in building the Juyuanli Candy Town.
"We have invited designers from Japan and Hong Kong to participate in the construction of Juyuanli Candy Town and built 19 characteristic independent cottages, which were rebuilt from abandoned houses in the village. We have retained the original house structure and even preserved the main room of each cottage," said Zhou.
The main room is a ceremonial space in traditional Chinese dwellings. It is generally designed in the middle of the house. It is used for activities such as reverence for ancestors and gods, worship of heaven and earth, weddings, funerals, and birthday celebrations.
The small town also attracts a large number of technical talents involving planting and breeding, deep processing, culture, and art. It has become a new force in rural revitalization.
The construction of Zhongxian Xinli Citrus characteristic town is people-oriented, green, and low-carbon, and makes good use of local resources, which is highly recommended by China's government.
The list of characteristic towns in Chongqing 2022 includes Rongchang Antao characteristic town and Zhongxian Xinli citrus characteristic town. At the same time, 20 characteristic towns are proposed to launch, such as Wanzhou Ganning agricultural science characteristic town.
Furthermore, a number of characteristic towns are planned to be built in the future. More investment opportunities and new forms of business will be born in characteristic towns in Chongqing.
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