Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Melon ‘land mines’: China’s exploding fruit crisis [The Age]


‘Exploding fruit’ due to overuse of growth accelerator forchlorfenuron, a plant growth regulator registered (2004) for use on grapes raisins, and kiwifruit. Looks like it does not react well with the larger fruit.

– – –

Melon ‘land mines’: China’s exploding fruit crisis
AP
Source – The Age, published May 18, 2011

Farmers clear out watermelons that exploded. Photo: AP

Fields of exploding watermelons are creating havoc in China, and farmers overdosing their crops with growth chemicals are getting the blame.

About 20 farmers around Danyang city in Jiangsu province have been affected, losing up to 45 hectares of melon, China Central Television said in an investigative report.

The broadcaster described the watermelons as “land mines” and said they were exploding by the hectare in the Danyang area.

Prices during the past year have prompted many farmers to jump into the watermelon market.

All of those with exploding melons apparently were first-time users of the growth accelerator forchlorfenuron, though it has been widely available for some time, CCTV said in the report broadcast on Monday night.

Farmer Liu Mingsuo ended up with three hectares of ruined fruit and told CCTV that seeing his crop splitting open was like a knife cutting his heart.

“On May 7, I came out and counted 80 (burst watermelons) but by the afternoon it was 100,” Liu said. “Two days later I didn’t bother to count anymore.”

Intact watermelons were being sold at a wholesale market in nearby Shanghai, the report said, but even those ones showed telltale signs of forchlorfenuron use: fibrous, misshapen fruit with mostly white instead of black seeds.

Chinese regulations don’t forbid forchlorfenuron, and it is allowed in the US on kiwi fruit and grapes.

But the report underscores how farmers in China are abusing both legal and illegal chemicals, with many farms misusing pesticides and fertilisers.

Wang Liangju, a professor with College of Horticulture at Nanjing Agricultural University who has been to Danyang since the problems began to occur, said that forchlorfenuron is safe and effective when used properly.

He told The Associated Press that the drug had been used too late into the season, and that recent heavy rain also raised the risk of the fruit cracking open. But he said the variety of melon also played a role.
“If it had been used on very young fruit, it wouldn’t be a problem,” Wang said. “Another reason is that the melon they were planting is a thin-rind variety and these kind are actually nicknamed the ‘exploding melon’ because they tend to split.”

In March last year, Chinese authorities found that “yard-long” beans from the southern city of Sanya had been treated with the banned pesticide isocarbophos. The tainted beans turned up in several provinces, and the central city of Wuhan announced it destroyed 3.5 tons of the vegetable.

The government also has voiced alarm over the widespread overuse of food additives like dyes and sweeteners that retailers hope will make food more attractive and boost sales.

Though Chinese media remain under strict government control, domestic coverage of food safety scandals has become more aggressive in recent months, an apparent sign that the government has realised it needs help policing the troubled food industry.

The CCTV report on watermelons quoted Feng Shuangqing, a professor at the China Agricultural University, as saying the problem showed that China needs to clarify its farm chemical standards and supervision to protect consumer health.

AP

Advertisements

Filed under: AP, Domestic Growth, Population, Resources, The Age

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,575 other followers

East/West headlines of Rising China

East/West headlines of Rising China

About Wandering China

Click to find out more about this project

Support //WC

Support Wandering China now - buy a Tee Shirt!

Be a champ - Support Wandering China - buy a Tee Shirt!

The East Wind Wave

China in images and infographics, by Wandering China

China in images and Infographics, by Wandering China

Wandering China: Facing west

Please click to access video

Travels in China's northwest and southwest

Wandering Taiwan

Wandering Taiwan: reflections of my travels in the democratic Republic of China

Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Click here to view the Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Slideshow reflection on Deng Xiaoping's UN General Assembly speech in 1974. Based on photos of my travels in China 2011.

East Asia Geographic Timelapse

Click here to view the East Asia Geographic Timelapse

A collaboration with my brother: Comparing East Asia's rural and urban landscapes through time-lapse photography.

Wandering Planets

Creative Commons License
Wandering China by Bob Tan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at Wanderingchina.org. Thank you for visiting //
web stats

Flag Counter

free counters
Online Marketing
Add blog to our directory.
%d bloggers like this: