By Yang Xiangyu
Enjoying high quality, high awareness and good reputation, agricultural products with geographical indications (GIs) are riding the wave of improving consumption in China and meeting the needs of Chinese consumers who want a high quality life.
Cao Junzhe, a resident of Fengtai District in Beijing, repeatedly purchased Nanfeng mandarin, a local specialty and national GI product from Nanfeng County, Fuzhou City, Jiangxi Province (east China). Besides enjoying it himself, he also sent the fruit to his parents who live in another city.
Although the prices of GI products are higher than those of ordinary agricultural products, he thinks they are worth buying, according to Cao, who said he has always preferred GI agricultural products since he realized the unique benefits of these products.
In fact, GI products in China, such as Zhangqiu green onion, Yantai apple, Anji white tea and Nanfeng mandarin, have become the choices of many consumers in China today.
The name of a GI product is often the combination of the name of the region where the product is made and the common name of the product. The names of GI products indicate their places of origin and their superior quality.
In recent years, China has continuously improved the protection of GI agricultural products. The data showed that since the country implemented GI agricultural product protection programs, more than 3,000 types of GI agricultural products have been grown and registered across the country.
These products have been accepted and recognized by more and more consumers, and have relatively stable consumer groups in the market.
GI products are the part of characteristic agriculture that has the most brand value and represent the direction in which agricultural products can develop towards the goal of becoming high-end products, said Li Xuelin, director of the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
The rapid development of e-commerce in China’s rural areas has created a wider market space for GI agricultural products.
Data from China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) revealed that online retail sales in rural China reached 1.79 trillion yuan (about $282 billion) in 2020, 5.1 times higher. than in 2015 and reported a growth rate well above that of e-commerce in the country as a whole.
In 2020, online retail sales of agricultural products in China reached 415.89 billion yuan, accounting for 10% of the country’s total retail sales of agricultural products.
E-commerce in rural areas has streamlined sales channels for GI agricultural products, has shortened the buyer’s decision process and improved the popularity of these products.
GI agricultural products are not only commodities, but also drivers for the development of the regional industrial chain. Inspired by the GI agricultural product development model, many regions in China have created the “GI + cultural tourism” model, aiming to promote the integration and complementarity of GIs, cultural and creative industries, as well as other related industries.
Meizhou City in Guangdong Province (southern China), Qingchuan County in Guangyuan City of Sichuan Province (southwest China) and Chishui City in Guizhou Province (southern -western China) have deeply integrated GI agricultural products into rural tourism. By boosting the business of guesthouses, deploying tourism products, creating agricultural brands, and developing characteristic agriculture and leisure agriculture, they guarantee tourists not only good food but also pleasure.
The advantages of GI agricultural products, namely unique resources and cultural appeal, have stimulated the vitality of rural development.
Experts believe that in addition to fruits and vegetables, the range of GI agricultural products will be further expanded to various links in the entire industrial chain, including highly processed products.