Really unsexy post on organics

“Last Friday in Beijing, Yunnan provincial party secretary Bai Enpei (白恩培) told reporters that if the province’s environment is destroyed “Yunnan will have absolutely nothing” (reported today on Gokunming, Kunming’s largest english-language news source). Run-off from pesticides and fertilisers is one of the biggest problems, with massive pollution of Dianchi lake and other areas in recent years.

But action is on its way. Yesterday saw the launch of Greenkunming a distribution centre for distribution organic produce to businesses across the city. To start with its aims are modest, supplying mostly local businesses with many foreign customers, but it’s a promising sign. 

Organic farm in Yunnan

Organic farm in Yunnan

In Hong Kong on the other hand, organic food already has quite a presence. For example, every Wednesday in central there is a market dedicated to local and organic produce. My friends who live on Lamma island also took me to HK’s first organic herb farm, which was started there recently. But this is not so surprising, in a highly developed economy, where environmental concerns are crucial due to the small land area and need to import most food. 

Yunnan on the other hand, is one of the poorer provinces in China, with annual GDP per capita at little over $1000 per year – and many earning much much less. Its main industries – tobacco, argriculture, mining, and tourism, are heavily reliant on – and potentially inflict a huge amount of damage against – the environment.

Organic food supply organised by a few mostly western small companies will have next to zero effect on its own. But with more attention focused on the issue, hopefully we will see more government action. Hopefully this is a small step towards less disastrous environmental policy, which is vital for the future of the province.

Hypocritical sidenote: I am a lazy cheapskate and rarely buy organic food :-S


One Response to “Really unsexy post on organics”

  1. Howard Says:

    I wonder if this organic trend will be matched with a corresponding crackdown on industrial polluters. Zero pesticides won’t mean much if they keep dumping toxic waste in the rivers…

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