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Over 30 Countries, Regions Savor Tongnan Lemon and Its By-products

By RAN ZHENG|Sep 14,2023

Chongqing- Since October 2022, the lemon deep processing and exportation of Chongqing Tongnan District ranked first in the country, becoming a leading force in the lemon industry in China, according to information released by Tongnan District. 

Records of lemon indicate an export volume of 39,800 tons, accounting for an overwhelming 70% of the country's total. Additionally, deep processing saw a volume of 100,000 tons with an output value reaching one billion yuan (about 140 million U.S. dollars).

Chongqing Mengtai Biotechnology Co., Ltd.'s intelligent lemon sorting line. (Photo/ Chongqing Mengtai Biotechnology Co., Ltd.)

Tongnan Lemon has not only gained recognition at home but has also spread its wings internationally. The district's branding efforts have culminated in the "Tongnan Lemon" being granted the National Geographical Indication Trademark. 

With seven regional marketing hubs and various trading networks, the district has set its sights on global recognition. Over 30 countries and regions, including Russia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, now savor the taste and benefits of Tongnan lemon and its by-products.

The statistics are resounding. Since last October, the district's export of lemons alone amounts to an impressive 329 million yuan, carving a bright path for its future in the industry.

90% of lemon bases under standardized cultivation

Tongnan, located at the conjunction of Sichuan province and Chongqing, has an average temperature of 17.9 degrees Celsius and vast, fertile alluvial plains. It is one of the most famous vegetable bases in western China as well as one of the world's top lemon-producing areas.

The secret to Tongnan's success is predominantly based on its large-scale standardized cultivation. A significant 90% of lemon bases, primarily in the Qiongjiang River Basin, are standardized gardens. Advanced, eco-friendly techniques such as using organic fertilizers instead of chemical ones and adopting green pest control measures are among the chief strategies implemented.

The district's core platform, Tongnan District Agricultural Science and Technology Investment (Group) Co., Ltd., is a vanguard in promoting lemon industry development. Established by the company, the Tongnan Seedling Breeding Center is recognized as Chongqing's first high-standard modern lemon seedling breeding hub, producing nearly 600,000 non-toxic lemon seedlings annually.

Chongqing Mengtai Biotechnology Co., Ltd.'s lemon processing workshop. (Photo/ Chongqing Mengtai Biotechnology Co., Ltd.)

Hu Zejiang, the chairman of Tongnan District Agricultural Science and Technology Investment (Group) Co., Ltd., said, "Large-scale planting is the norm." The district is home to 360 lemon farmers and boasts over 280,000 mu (187 square kilometers) in the planting area, including 100 standard lemon gardens.

Technology amplified the value of lemon over tenfold 

An innovation that stands out is the six-separation extraction technology employed by Chongqing Mengtai Biotechnology Co., Ltd. 

This technique, a game-changer in the industry, has amplified the value of a single lemon over tenfold by extracting every part of a lemon, from peel to pulp, and finds utility in diverse products ranging from skincare items and health supplements to food and beverages.

Chongqing Mengtai Biotechnology Co., Ltd.'s lemon slice production line. (Photo/ Chongqing Mengtai Biotechnology Co., Ltd.)

As of now, 32 lemon processing enterprises have been nurtured in Tongnan. Over 350 lemon-based products spanning several categories, such as beverages, beauty care, biomedicine, and health care products, have been developed and released to the market.


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