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Panjin claws its way upward

By Zhu Chengpei and Liu Ce in Panjin, Liaoning | China Daily | Updated: 2012-10-16 13:41

Panjin claws its way upward

Crabs in a paddy field in Panjin, in Northeast China's Liaoning province. Thanks to technical and policy supports from the local government, Panjin's crab farmers have overcome many problems associated with raising crabs in northern China, where there are not as many ponds as in southern China. As a result, they turned to the rice fields, a move which proved to be very popular and successful. Provided to China Daily

Panjin claws its way upward

Northeast region farms start to challenge rivals from the south

September is the busiest season for Sun Xiuling. "I haven't slept for two nights. I just got free so I could wash my face with cold water to wake me up," said the bloodshot-eyed 50-year-old woman.

Sun, who lives in Hujia township, Panjin, in Northeast China's Liaoning province, is famous for breeding and trading crabs. Panjin is one of the three well-known sources for hairy crabs in China. And the only market in the country specializing in selling crabs is located in Hujia township.

Autumn is the best time to eat crabs. As a result, thousands of dealers across the country pour into the 24-hour Hujia market. Lines of trucks can stretch several kilometers even at 3 am.

"It's hard to catch crabs during the day. They come out at night. So usually we catch them at night and package them in boxes at daybreak," said Sun.

Her 20 square meter store in the market is filled with glass containers in which the crustaceans crawl over each other. Six workers are busy weighing and wrapping them. Outside her store, packed boxes are piled as high as two meters.

"This is just a small part of it. Most were sold at daybreak. I can sell more than 5,000 kilograms of crabs a day during this season," she said.

Besides the endless business, what makes Sun sleepless are two national awards she won on Sept 21 - the gold medal and the best germplasm (crab nursery) award in the Liaohe River Cup national freshwater crab contest.

"It's the first time I have won national prizes. It's not only praise for my products, but also an affirmation for Panjin crabs. It means that Panjin crabs have the same quality as the most famous hairy crabs from Yangcheng Lake in Jiangsu province or even more so," she said excitedly.

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