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Vegetable market provides snapshot of maturing business infrastructure

By Zhang Xiaomin | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-06 09:52
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Visitors looking at vegetable displays during a recent agricultural product exhibition in Weifang, Shandong province. [Photo by Zhao Yuguo/For China Daily]

Vegetable dealers in Shouguang, Shandong province, are now finding it more convenient to do business, thanks to the rapid development of technology and infrastructure.

Wang Changshuai, a vegetable trader, and his employees were selling vegetables at the trading hall of Shouguang Dali Agricultural Products Logistics Park-China's largest vegetable distribution hub recently. The park has an annual transaction volume of 4 million metric tons of vegetables.

Behind them, there were two 30-ton cargo trucks fully loaded with cabbages, carrots and peppers. It took about 20 hours for them to be transported from Fujian province-about 1,600 kilometers to the south, where a rich variety of vegetables is grown in winter.

"The expressway network is convenient. More importantly, the special vehicles that are registered to transport fresh vegetables can go through the non-toll green passages," Wang said.

Usually, he sells out 30-60 tons of vegetables every day.

A buyer named Fu Tingrun bought 1,000 kilograms of peppers. Every day, Fu sends 20 tons of various vegetables from Shouguang to Qinhuangdao in Hebei province.

They put their debit cards on the scale and the payment was done.

Wang, 41, has been in the vegetable business for 25 years. "Things have changed greatly. In the past, we had to pay with cash. I had to take cash to buy the vegetables at the planting areas," Wang said.

"Nowadays, we have better roads, more vehicles and a convenient cold chain. We get more information online. With mobile chat apps, now we can communicate with famers and customers anytime," he said.

"However, the competition is becoming more severe," he added, saying that there are more vegetable wholesale markets around the country and the price for vegetables is becoming cheaper.

Wang was echoed by Guo Mingqian, assistant to the general manager of the logistic park.

Shouguang's history as a national level vegetable wholesale market can be traced back to 1984. Vegetables were transported from other places to the market and it kept expanding.

The logistic park now covers an area of 1,685 mu (1.12 square kilometers) and the vegetables are distributed to almost all the provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, Guo said.

"We can feel the impact of the booming markets around the country," she said. "One example is more vegetables are transported directly to Beijing without transferring here in Shouguang."

Guo said the logistic park is providing more and better services to attract dealers.

Approved by the Ministry of Commerce, it created China's first market index on agricultural products. Since April 20, 2011, the vegetable index is released at 10 am every day.

By collecting and analyzing the price, volume and value of 223 vegetable varieties transacted in the park, the index reflects the trend of the entire vegetable market and offers valuable information for planters, dealers and government institutions.

"Since the release of the index, no unsalable condition has occurred in the park," Guo said.

Wang Changshuai has got used to studying the daily index. "It helps me make predictions of the market and choose to buy or sell certain kinds of vegetables at the right time accordingly," he said.

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