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China Daily Website

Fair brings Hami melons to Beijing

Updated: 2013-08-30 00:41
By Jin Haixing ( China Daily)

Beijing residents are expected to taste more fresh melons from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

A weeklong trade fair opened on Wednesday, bringing more than 50 metric tons of Hami melons to the Wangfujing Street shopping district as well as about 100 of the capital's supermarkets.

Fair brings Hami melons to Beijing

People on Wangfujing Street in Beijing get a taste of authentic Hami melon from Hami prefecture of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Wednesday. The Hami government shipped more than 50 metric tons of melons to Beijing. [Zhang Wei / China Daily]

It's the first time the Hami prefecture government has introduced the melon to the capital in such large quantities as part of its branding strategy to promote the industry, said Wang Jianquan, deputy head of the Hami prefecture.

The trade fair in Beijing was also aimed at helping local melon farmers tide over market difficulties this year, said Wang.

The price of Hami melons has dropped slightly because of a larger crop this year and bad weather in China's southern area, which has hindered transportation of the melons.

About 10 supermarkets or companies in Beijing signed agreements with Hami prefecture to set up cooperation with local farmers, dealers and retailers of the melons.

Next week, buyers from an additional 13 Beijing supermarkets will fly to the prefecture to order more melons, according to Zhuang Yuping, a coordinator of the trade fair.

The Hami melon, a type of cantaloupe, with an off-white, yellow, pink or green rind, gets its name from Xinjiang's Hami prefecture, which was registered nationally as the birthplace of the fruit, according to Zhuang.

In other areas on the Chinese mainland, many melons have been sold under the brand of Hami melon, creating more competition for farmers in the prefecture, Wang said.

"The Hami melon is sweeter and crisper than other types of melons in China," he said.

Zhu Xinyuan, a spokesman for the prefecture, said the produce used for the trade fair is packaged and labeled uniformly to ensure authenticity.

Zhuang said it is hard to standardize agricultural products, but the Hami government has done a good job because each melon has the same price and packaging, which is a convenience to supermarkets.

Ma Yan, a Beijing resident, said at the trade fair on Wednesday after tasting a Hami melon that she plans to buy more if it is available in Beijing's supermarkets.

Ma said she likes to buy local produce in trade fairs, as she can be sure of quality and authenticity.

"I would pay a higher price for produce as long as it comes from the original production area, such as the Hami melon," she said.


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