China Has Plans. Big Plans!

Mention the concepts of ‘threat’ and ‘opportunity’ to anyone remotely connected with produce industry strategy in this country and China gets a mention.  Both Chinas actually.  Whilst Potatoes New Zealand is busy trying to figure out how to optimise its fledgling export relationship with Taiwan and Summerfruit New Zealand is keen to export more cherries into that part of the world,  the rest of the industry is looking with mixed feelings at Mainland China.  How much of a threat will they be to our domestic industry?  Are we really about to be flooded with Chinese imports?  China is already the largest apple producer in the world.  Will we stand a chance in the international markets once China gets serious about apple exports?  And what about all this counterfeit Zespri kiwifruit which can be found in China with monotonous regularity?

Do I have any answers here?  Of course, not! But may I suggest that in order to understand China better, we need to spend a bit of time on critical evaluation – and that involves learning about Chinese mindsets and strategies.  This article about the Chinese commodities strategy in Africa entitled “The Next Empire”   is a good place to start.  I would pay particular attention to the section about Mozambique allowing 3,000 Chinese settlers in to buy and farm the land.

The article provides a wider historic perspective and is certainly not solely focused on horticulture – but neither are the Chinese.

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