NA­TION RAL­LIES TO SAT­ISFY HUBEI’S AP­PETITE

Dif­fer­ent ar­eas en­sure sup­plies reach stricken prov­ince

China Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO RUIXUE in Ji­nan and ZHANG LI in Nan­ning

Edi­tor’s note: Novel coro­n­avirus pneu­mo­nia is pos­ing a world­wide threat. Here, we take a look at how China is play­ing its role in the global fight against the out­break by mo­bi­liz­ing a vast amount of re­sources. This is the sev­enth part of a series ti­tled “United Ac­tions”.

The Art of War, a mil­i­tary trea­tise writ­ten in the 5th cen­tury BC by strate­gist Sun Tzu, in­cludes this sen­tence, “Armies without bag­gage and grain will per­ish.”

In the bat­tle against novel coro­n­avirus pneu­mo­nia, China has mo­bi­lized a vast amount of re­sources to guar­an­tee that sufficient sup­plies are avail­able in Hubei prov­ince.

Food is be­ing sent from across the coun­try to Wuhan, the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal and former epi­cen­ter of the out­break, in an­swer to a call by the cen­tral govern­ment to en­sure that the city’s 11 mil­lion res­i­dents can ob­tain daily ne­ces­si­ties.

Since Jan 13, veg­eta­bles have topped the list of pro­duce trans­ported to Hubei by trucks and vans.

Be­fore that date, con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als, coal and min­er­als and fast­de­liv­ery pack­ages were the top three cat­e­gories on the list, but sup­plies of fruit and veg­eta­bles have risen sig­nif­i­cantly since then, ac­cord­ing to freight service provider Man­bang Group.

Some 300 met­ric tons of gar­lic and the same quan­tity of other veg­eta­bles have been do­nated to Hubei by Lan­ling county in Shan­dong prov­ince.

Wang Shu­jian, vice-gov­er­nor of Shan­dong, said: “We have enough veg­eta­bles grow­ing in the fields here. Hubei, you can feel as­sured.”

The cen­tral govern­ment des­ig­nated a to­tal of eight prov­inces and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to sup­ply Hubei with eight types of food: meat, veg­eta­bles, eggs, milk, rice, flour, ed­i­ble oil and in­stant foods.

Cui Xin­jian, a farmer in Cuil­ingxi, a vil­lage in Shan­dong, has sent Hubei cu­cum­bers and toma­toes grown in two green­houses.

“I only go to my green­houses when I need to pick the veg­eta­bles. At other times, I wa­ter them, ad­just the light­ing and ven­ti­late them us­ing an app on my phone called In­tel­li­gent Agri­cul­ture,” he said, ad­ding that this helps to pro­tect him from the virus.

Shouguang, a county-level city in Weifang, Shan­dong, is pro­duc­ing a rich va­ri­ety of veg­eta­bles amid the out­break thanks to the wide use of tech­nol­ogy.

One of the coun­try’s ma­jor veg­etable pro­duc­tion bases, it pro­vides one-third of those con­sumed in Beijing, while Lan­ling, known as the “home of gar­lic”, pro­vides half the veg­eta­bles con­sumed in Shang­hai.

Veg­eta­bles have been sent to Wuhan from Shouguang since Jan 28.

Qiao Risheng, the deputy mayor of Shouguang, is im­pressed by the quick and ef­fi­cient re­sponse from lo­cal farm­ers and the own­ers of veg­etable busi­nesses in se­lect­ing the first pro­duce do­nated to Wuhan.

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing or­ders for veg­eta­bles to be sent to the city on Jan 27, the Shouguang govern­ment mo­bi­lized mar­kets, agri­cul­tural parks and farm­ers to se­lect fresh sup­plies and to com­plete qual­ity in­spec­tion, pack­ag­ing and load­ing overnight. Next day, the veg­eta­bles were sent to Wuhan by 15 trucks.

“We spent 16 hours pack­ag­ing 300 tons of veg­eta­bles, a task that usu­ally takes 48 hours,” Qiao said.

“When we asked for vol­un­teers pre­pared to drive for nearly 20 hours to trans­port the veg­eta­bles, many driv­ers of­fered their ser­vices. They felt they had to help Wuhan out.”

In­tel­li­gent man­age­ment sys­tems have been used widely dur­ing the out­break to save la­bor.

Zhang Haibo, who is in charge of a tomato green­house at a mod­ern agri­cul­tural park in Tian­liu, a town in Shouguang, said, “For this green­house, I only need one or two peo­ple to tend the toma­toes, which can sub­stan­tially avoid cross-in­fec­tion.”

Shan­dong, which lies some 1,000 kilo­me­ters east of Wuhan, has ac­ti­vated emer­gency plans to in­crease sup­plies of fresh veg­eta­bles to sup­port demand in Hubei and else­where in the coun­try.

As the na­tion’s largest pro­duc­tion and trad­ing area for veg­eta­bles, Shan­dong has long sup­plied ma­jor cities, es­pe­cially in au­tumn and win­ter, thanks to green­houses, which are used widely through­out the prov­ince.

Be­tween Spring Fes­ti­val and March 3, Shan­dong sent 7,060 tons of green veg­eta­bles to Hubei, and it has also trans­ported 107 tons of pork and 2,498 tons of poul­try to the prov­ince.

Shan­dong pro­duces 47,000 tons of flour, 20,000 tons of ed­i­ble veg­etable oil, 52,000 tons of veg­eta­bles and 9,300 tons of eggs ev­ery day, ac­cord­ing to the pro­vin­cial Agri­cul­tural and Ru­ral Af­fairs Department.

It also has 92,000 tons of pork stocks and a poul­try in­ven­tory of 412,000 tons, sufficient to meet demand.

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Trans­port, from Jan 27 to Feb 28, more than 541,300 tons of daily ne­ces­si­ties and 1.18 mil­lion tons of other com­modi­ties, such as coal and petrol, were trans­ported to Hubei from around the coun­try.

He­nan prov­ince and Chongqing mu­nic­i­pal­ity, which both neigh­bor Hubei, have spared no ef­fort in pro­vid­ing sup­port.

By Feb 3, He­nan, a ma­jor pro­duc­tion cen­ter for bis­cuits, in­stant noo­dles, sausages and frozen dumplings, had do­nated more than 110,000 boxes of in­stant food to Hubei.

Whole­sale mar­kets in He­nan and Chongqing are send­ing about

10,000 tons of veg­eta­bles to Wuhan ev­ery day, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Com­merce.

A wide va­ri­ety of food, in­clud­ing rice from Jilin prov­ince, beef from Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion, milk from In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion, seafood from Dalian, Liaon­ing prov­ince, and fruit from Yun­nan prov­ince and Guangxi Zhuang au­ton­o­mous re­gion are be­ing trans­ported to Hubei.

Since last month, sup­plies of fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles have been sent to the prov­ince from Guangxi — a key pro­duc­tion area for such pro­duce — by two weekly rail freight ser­vices.

Jiang Lian­sheng, head of the Department of Com­merce in Guangxi, said, “We have reg­u­lar dis­cus­sions with our coun­ter­parts in the Hubei pro­vin­cial

govern­ment in or­der to work out the type and amount of sup­plies that are needed.”

All agri­cul­tural pro­duce that is trans­ported must pass pes­ti­cide residue de­tec­tion tests and be given a cer­tifi­cate guar­an­tee­ing qual­ity, Jiang said.

“Fruit and veg­eta­bles are picked two days be­fore the train leaves, in or­der to make sure the pro­duce is fresh. We also in­sist on cold-chain trans­porta­tion and en­sure that all our pro­duce can be traced.”

As of March 11, the Guangxi govern­ment had sent 13 freight trains to Hubei, car­ry­ing a to­tal of 2,600 tons of daily ne­ces­si­ties. Some 2,500 tons of the sup­plies were do­nated by 170 com­pa­nies, agri­cul­tural co­op­er­a­tives and in­di­vid­u­als from 13 cities in Guangxi.

On Feb 7, a freight train left Guilin, Guangxi, for Xian­ning, Hubei, car­ry­ing 200 tons of fruit and veg­eta­bles do­nated by lo­cal com­pa­nies and agri­cul­tural co­op­er­a­tives for dis­tri­bu­tion to des­ig­nated hos­pi­tals and welfare or­ga­ni­za­tions.

With the help of the Guilin govern­ment, it took work­ers just three days to gather the sup­plies to­gether and to com­plete all the qual­ity tests.

Wei Xinye, gen­eral man­ager of a com­pany in Yongfu county, Guilin, that pro­duces fruit for use as a tra­di­tional medicine to treat coughs and moisten the lungs, do­nated 50,000 pieces of fruit.

“We had al­ready sent 100,000 pieces to Hubei by truck. We hope our prod­ucts can ease the suf­fer­ing of medics and pa­tients in the prov­ince and bring a lit­tle sweet­ness to their lives,” Wei said.

Qin Jib­ing, pres­i­dent of the Lipu Orange Plan­ta­tion As­so­ci­a­tion in Guangxi, raised money to buy 50 tons of or­anges from farm­ers.

“In this way, we can gather a large amount of or­anges in a very short time and send them for qual­ity test­ing all to­gether. We want to make sure that peo­ple in Hubei who are in­fected with the virus can have the best fruit,” said Qin, who plans to make more do­na­tions.

China is the world’s largest pro­ducer of veg­eta­bles, with an an­nual out­put of more than 700 mil­lion tons. But amid the out­break, trans­port­ing them to Hubei has been a chal­lenge.

To en­sure sup­plies reach the prov­ince smoothly from else­where in the coun­try, five trans­porta­tion sta­tions have been set up around Wuhan.

Cao Guangjing, deputy gov­er­nor of Hubei, said at a news con­fer­ence late last month that goods trans­ported to the city are un­loaded at the sta­tions and dis­trib­uted to dis­tricts by lo­gis­tics service providers.

More than 3,500 su­per­mar­kets and stores have been op­er­at­ing in Hubei dur­ing the lock­down, with group pur­chase and de­liv­ery ser­vices provided to res­i­dents.

Be­fore the lock­down was im­posed in Wuhan, more than 400 medium- and small-sized agri­cul­tural mar­kets were open in the city as the main chan­nels for veg­etable sales, but most have since closed due to quar­an­tine mea­sures.

Three State-owned en­ter­prises op­er­at­ing more than 1,100 stores have stepped in to fill the gap and have re­mained open for busi­ness, de­spite a short­age of work­ers and pro­tec­tive equip­ment.

In ad­di­tion, the two largest agri­cul­tural trade mar­kets in Wuhan — Bais­hazhou and Si­jimei — are en­sur­ing an abun­dant sup­ply of veg­eta­bles for stores and su­per­mar­kets.

XIE JIANFEI / XINHUA

Veg­eta­bles do­nated by Sichuan prov­ince are dis­trib­uted last month to res­i­dents of Xiangyang in Hubei, the Chi­nese prov­ince hard­est hit by COVID-19.

PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Work­ers in Shan­dong load fruit and veg­eta­bles des­tined for Hubei.

LU BOAN / XINHUA

A freight train leaves Nan­ning, Guangxi, for Xian­ning, Hubei, car­ry­ing 178 tons of fruit and veg­eta­bles.

WANG JILIN / FOR CHINA DAILY LU BOAN / XINHUA

Cen­ter: Farm­ers from Guangxi Zhuang au­ton­o­mous re­gion se­lect turnips for

PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Left: Work­ers pack fresh veg­eta­bles in Weifang, Shan­dong prov­ince, for de­liv­ery to Wuhan, Hubei prov­ince. Wuhan. Right: Work­ers load win­ter mel­ons for Hubei at Nan­ning Rail­way Sta­tion, Guangxi.

PHO­TOS PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY AND LU BOAN / XINHUA

From top: Veg­eta­bles bound for Hubei are de­liv­ered to a freight train in Nan­ning; a Shan­dong farmer selects pep­pers for Hubei; Guangxi or­anges are picked for de­liv­ery to Hubei.

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