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Green Food Makers in China See Growth Opportunities

Chen Shuling saw huge business opportunities when she greeted a large number of customers at the ongoing 5th China Agricultural Trade Fair.

"We've signed letters of intent for sales with more than 30 purchasers," said the sales manager of Jizhou Green Food Co. Ltd. in north China's port city of Tianjin.

"Meanwhile, a lot of visitors buy green food products at our exhibition stand despite the much higher prices. This impresses me very much," she told Xinhua on Saturday, the first day of the four-day fair in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province.

The trade fair, with the theme of "Green Agriculture, Harmonious Countryside", has attracted more than 1,600 food companies, mostly green food makers, from home and abroad, and 300 international purchasers.

"For example, our apples are pesticide-free. They sell well although their price is more than twice that of the common apples. So do our other products," she noted.

Jizhou Green Food Co. Ltd. is only an epitome of China's green food industry whose growth has started to accelerate over the past couple of years.

Chinese citizens are increasing more safety-conscious after a spate of food scares, presenting growth opportunities for the green food producers.

The country has been hit by food safety problems ranging from parasite-infested snails to ducks and hens that were fed cancer-causing Sudan Red dye to make their egg yolks red.

"Chinese people are paying more and more attention to food safety with the fast-expanding economy and rising health consciousness," said Lu Xiaoping, deputy chief of the international cooperation department of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).

This is especially true for the hundreds millions of urban residents in China.

"I buy more green food products now. Though they are more expensive, but at least I don't need to worry about possible excessive pesticide residue and other safety concerns, "said Du Wanying, a public servant in Beijing.

To better meet the rising demand for safer food, the Chinese government has taken measures to boost the output of green food products.

The government has certified a total 14,339 types of products from 5,315 manufacturers as green food, according to MOA's statistics.

"Green food is becoming more affordable as expanding production capacity helps to reduce cost. We expect up to 40 percent annual increase in sales in the coming years," Chen said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 14, 2007)

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