Hundreds of metric tons of Hami melons, a specialty of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, were transported to the Southeast Asian market recently from their namesake city Hami, the first time for such a shipment complete with certificates of origin.
The Hami melons, weighing 380 tons and worth 2.28 million yuan ($340,000), were transported to Pingxiang port in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region by refrigerated container truck on June 21 and then transported by road to Southeast Asia over the next three days.
"We have introduced strict requirements for the export of Hami melons, implementing quality management systems used for fruit orchards that are engaged in outbound business," said Yu Zhifeng, an official with Hami customs, who added that all the exported melons came from a cooperative orchard in the city.
According to Yu, Hami customs will guide more local orchards to obtain customs registration qualifications so that more melons with certificates of origin can be shipped overseas.
"We have received calls from two more cooperatives inquiring about the relevant information and procedures for registering outbound businesses," Yu said.
The customs office has established special groups to provide assistance in registration for fruit orchards and their outbound business, and to help them improve the quality management system and relevant technical specifications.
"We have also established export green channels for the declaration of certificates of origin for fruit and vegetables, aiming to shorten the time and reduce the costs of customs clearance and help local businesses open up to a broader international market," he said.
"Hami is one of the main production areas of Hami melons with a high sugar content and good quality," said Xu Huiping, who runs one of the largest cooperative orchards in Hami.
According to Xu, construction of the first phase of his cooperative orchard started in 2021, with a total investment of over 2 million yuan and an area of about 43 hectares.
Another production area for Hami melons is in the city of Turpan in Xinjiang, which as of spring this year had over 6,000 hectares of associated farmland.
Mayla Litip, a Turpan local who sells Hami melons online, said the local government has organized melon farmers to establish a specialized cooperative to help boost their profits, and has promoted new varieties.
"We now have nearly 40 varieties of Hami melons, and every year from June to September, fruit traders from all over the country come here to buy our melons," she was quoted as saying by Xinhua News Agency.