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CHINESE FARMING B


Agriculture Yulong River


Valley, Yangshuo, Guangxi Province, China


suitable organic land in China.” When products come with a higher price tag – typically two to three times more expensive than the cheapest competitors – many consumers continue to ask why they should be expected to pay more for a product that, after all, is still “Made in China”, a label associated with failings across a number of industries, not just food. People’s suspicions, coupled with the rising disparity between the average disposable income in rural and urban areas, could be the biggest challenges facing any new-look food industry.


First steps


quality product that is safe and ethical.” The Natural Poultry Group tells a similar story. Committed to chemical- and antibiotic-free farming practices, it is a group of scientists, veterinarians and farmers that has identified the issues that exist in the poultry production system and set about developing ways to improve them.


Changing attitudes


If any sort of positives have emerged from the recent food safety issues, it is that they have drawn attention to and driven a demand for better quality, which is helping to galvanise new innovations such as ethical food production. The shift in how the market is moving and in particular the ways in which two such important sectors as meat and dairy are operating is tangible.


But after so many false dawns and disappointments, will Chinese consumers prove hard to convince? In a 2013 interview given to the state-run English language newspaper China Daily, Green Yard general manager Hou Xuejun describes one of the hurdles the company has faced: “Many people don’t like our products because it is a domestic brand,” he says. “And the reason our prices are higher is because there is very limited availability of


For the time being, these companies represent just a tiny piece of the enormous pie that is Chinese food production, but as knowledge about them and others like them continues to grow, this represents something far more significant that can be seen spreading among retailers both online and off. “As people in China are beginning to realise the importance of food safety and healthy eating habits, things such as health food restaurants and retailers are becoming very popular. The dietetics profession in China is also looking at revising its Healthy Eating Food Guide soon,” says Clara Pi. “Currently, there is still a problem with food safety in China. But both the government and people are now aware of the seriousness of the problem. That’s the first step towards any improvement.”


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