China, Pakistan explore cold chain cooperation: Chen Lin

BEIJING, Nov. 17 (INP): China’s cold chain technology may help Pakistan reduce loss of agricultural products and increase the added value, Chen Lin, vice president of Hefei Lianhui Refrigeration Equipment Co., told China Economic Net (CEN).

There is close cooperation between Chinese and Pakistani rice seed companies. To meet the needs of seed storage in Pakistan, Chen Lin started to build an 800-square-meter seed cold storage warehouse with a rice company in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2017.

Chen Lin told the CEN that, they deliver the equipment and cold storage plates to Pakistan, and send technical personnel for equipment installation and training of Pakistani personnel.

“Customers may encounter problems in production and processing, we need to give an overall solution,” he said, adding “the cold storage warehouse will be monitored remotely and the company will provide customer service.

Although the cost of cold storage warehouse is not that high, the products stored in it are very expensive. In case of a power failure in the cold storage warehouse, yet without being realized by the company, the loss could be huge.

Therefore, the remote monitoring is something like an insurance policy. Even if the warehouse staff don’t feel the power failure, the other 3-5 monitoring staff will receive text messages, ringtones and other prompts, which can remind customers by phone to minimize the storage risk.”

Mangoes & citrus fruits “dormant” for three months in air-conditioned cold storage warehouse, added value doubled
In recent years, Pakistan has made breakthroughs in the export of mangoes and citrus fruits to China, however, the country has been upset by preservation problems due to the month-long shipping cycle.

In this regard, Chen Lin gave an air conditioning fresh-keeping technology solution.

“Under the premise of ensuring the temperature and humidity of the products, the air-conditioned cold storage warehouse can keep the fruits dormant by adjusting the contents of oxygen and carbon dioxide, thus keeping the fruits in a relatively long storage period,” Chen Lin explained.

“Mangoes and oranges can be stored for about 3 months, cherries for 45 days, kiwifruits for 6 months, apples for 3-6 months, and bayberries for about 30 days.”

The extension of storage period also brings higher added value. Fruits with higher added value, such as cherries, kiwifruits and golden pears, can be sold at higher prices when stored off-season.

Chen Lin further said that pick season kiwifruits are about RMB 30 per kg, and the price could reach RMB 60 per kg during the Spring Festival.

In the supermarket, a package of four kiwifruits might be sold for RMB 40-50, the added value increased to 1.5-2 times, while the added value of processed kiwifruits can be increased about 3 times.

After picking, fruits cannot be directly put into the cold storage warehouse, they must be precooled at 0-5 °C. “When the fruits are picked, they have residual heat,” Chen said, “if they are immediately taken to a cold storage warehouse, the surface temperature drops, but the central temperature does not, this may lead to spoilage in fruits.

Like some apples in the supermarket, they look good from the outside, but rotton on the inside, that is because they are not precooled properly. Cherries, kiwifruits and blueberries all need to be precooled.”

Not only fruits, but also vegetables can benefit from quick freezing technology. According to Chen, the flowering Chinese cabbage, coming in the market in March, can be sold for 20 days.

However, it will be like fresh picked ones a year later after the processes of steaming, boiling, bleaching, blanching, and the following freezing at -35 °C and storing at -18 °C. In this way, it can be stored for two years.

“The price is less than RMB 2 per kg in the pick season. Now, a portion of 5-6 flowering Chinese cabbage can sell for about RMB 7, and the profit can increase 200% – 300%,” he said.

Sardine (Notes: sardines, sardinella, brisling or sprats, HS Code is 03035300) imports were the largest among the aquatic products imported from Pakistan in the first three quarters of this year, reaching 22, 500 tons, 6.4 times as much as the import volume of the same period last year, according to the General Administration of Customs of China.

As Pakistan is rich in aquatic resources, how to process aquatic products after fishing in order to export them to China with better quality?

According to Chen, aquatic products storage includes raw material storage and processed product storage. In terms of raw material storage, fish and shrimp should be frozen immediately after being fished up, rather than directly stored in low-temperature storage.

Chen said lobsters can be preserved by quick freezing in liquid nitrogen at – 150 °C, and crabs can also be made into quick-frozen products. In addition, the added value of crab sauce is very high.

Talking about processed product storage technology, Chen said the temperature of shrimp cooking is about 80 °C. Afterwards, it is precooled in 0-5 °C ice water, and then preserved by quick freezing.

At last, it is put into the finished product storage warehouse and can be stored for two to three years.

Many Chinese business firms engaging in aquatic products deep processing import Basa fish and South America prawn from Pakistan and Southeast Asian countries, as their price is competitive, Chen said, adding that “Basa fish and crayfish are relatively scarce in China now, and we plan to conduct business on aquatic products with Pakistani business firms.”

In order to tap agricultural cooperation potential between China and Pakistan in the fields of seed industry, agricultural product processing and agricultural investment, under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China Economic Net, in collaboration with the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies (IPDS), under the guidance of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan and the Pakistani Embassy in China, will organize a webinar on China-Pakistan Agricultural Cooperation and Prospects on November 19, 2020.