CHANGCHUN, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- After learning about fresh corn at an investment fair and being intrigued by its commercial prospects, Hu Junhao set up a small processing plant in the city of Songyuan, located in northeast China's Jilin Province, in 2016. ↳
In recent years, the market popularity of fresh corn, which is planted only for eating when compared with traditional corn, has continued to surge thanks to its greater sweetness, higher water content and glutinousness. It is gradually becoming a profitable sector of the Chinese corn industry, alongside corn feed and corn deep-processing.↳
Located near 45 degrees north latitude, Jilin is known as one of the three golden corn belts in the world, boasting high-quality corn yields.↳
Over the years, Songyuan has proactively nurtured the growth of the fresh corn industry, resulting in the emergence of processing enterprises like Hu's company.↳
"The peak season for fresh corn production and processing starts in early August and lasts over a month. Our order book is full, and we will be producing at full capacity," said Hu, chairman of Tianfuyu food Co., Ltd.↳
In the early days of its inception, the company was faced with financial constraints and lacked automation, so Hu had to hire local villagers to manually peel corn. To efficiently run the company, he immersed himself in every aspect of fresh corn production, from seed selection, water management and fertilizer application during planting to the careful management of harvesting and processing.↳
Following over seven years of diligent management, the company has witnessed consistent growth in both sales and revenue, while the production process has progressively transitioned towards automation.↳
At present, the company is making continuous efforts to achieve high-quality development. Every year, it works with agricultural research institutions to cultivate new corn varieties that align with consumer preferences for fresh corn.↳
As orders continued to grow annually, Hu forged cooperation with an increasing number of cooperatives in the industry upstream to expand the cultivation area. The company also deployed professional technicians to provide guidance to these cooperatives, enabling more scientific and efficient planting practices.↳
In addition, the company has consistently enhanced the value proposition of its products from the supply side and diversified into new product lines associated with fresh corn, including buns, facial masks and beverages.
According to statistics, in 2022, the planting area of fresh corn in Songyuan was about 111,000 mu (7,400 hectares), with 37 processing enterprises raking in sales revenue of 364 million yuan (about 50.71 million U.S. dollars).