The Third Lancang–Mekong Fruit Festival was successfully held in Beijing on Sept. 1, 2023. The festival was hosted by the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) and was jointly organized by the Foreign Economic Cooperation Center of MARA, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and the Chaoyang District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality.
Ni Hongxing, Counsel (Director-General level) of the Department of International Cooperation of MARA, said in his opening remarks that fruit is an important agro-product and a major trade category in the Lancang–Mekong region. He noted that with the continued implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the operation of the China–Laos Railway, trade in fruit products within the region is poised for even more rapid growth.
Sun Xiaolin, Counsellor of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), said agriculture has always been a priority for Lancang–Mekong cooperation. The Lancang–Mekong Fruit Festival has created new opportunities for agricultural cooperation and played a pivotal role in enriching the “fruit basket” of each nation’s people. As a reliable neighbor and partner, China is committed to working with Mekong countries to drive Lancang–Mekong cooperation to new heights and to bring greater benefits to people of the region.
Narumol Sanguanvong, Assistant Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand, noted that the fruit industry stands as a cornerstone of Thailand’s agriculture, constituting roughly one-third of the country’s total agricultural exports. In 2022, Thailand witnessed a remarkable 70% year-on-year surge in agricultural exports to China, with durian exports to China growing by over 120%. She expressed her gratitude to MARA for organizing the Lancang–Mekong Fruit Festival, saying that Thailand stands ready to enhance cooperation with China and other trading partners to jointly bolster cooperation in agro-trade.
Tin Maung Swe, Myanmar Ambassador to China, emphasized the remarkable achievements in Lancang–Mekong cooperation over the past seven years, which have translated into tangible benefits for Mekong countries. Within the Lancang–Mekong cooperation framework, Myanmar has maintained a close partnership with China and will continue to strengthen practical cooperation with China, so as to promote agro-trade within the region and bring real benefits to people of all countries.
A Workshop on Lancang-Mekong Fruit Industry Development was held during this year’s Lancang–Mekong Fruit Festival. Participants delivered keynote speeches on subjects such as digitization and branding in the fruit industry. Moreover, the book Fruit Growing and Poverty Reduction: China’s Experience was unveiled during the workshop.
This year’s festival introduced two special sections: the Fruit Culture Exhibition and the Lancang–Mekong Fruit Market. The Fruit Culture Exhibition was structured around the theme of fruit industry development in the Lancang–Mekong region and had three parts: Fruit Culture, Fruit Industry and Poverty Reduction, and Fruit Trade. It offered an immersive design, delivering a refreshing experience for visitors.
The Lancang–Mekong Fruit Market showcased both domestic and foreign specialty fruit, including durians, peaches, young coconuts, figs, apples and other fruit and fruit products. The market not only provided the public with the opportunity to savor the sweetness of fruit but also melded with diverse art forms like dance, painting, calligraphy and music, thus demonstrating the distinct allure of fruit from the Lancang–Mekong region. Additionally, the market also incorporated AI technology to facilitate engaging conversations with virtual characters, which offered participants a deeper understanding of Lancang–Mekong agricultural cooperation and the Lancang–Mekong Fruit Festival.
More than 100 participants from various official organizations attended the event, including representatives of the agricultural departments of Mekong countries, foreign embassies in China, the FAO Representative Office in China, the ASEAN–China Center, and other international organizations, as well as from domestic institutions including the MFA, MARA, departments of agriculture and rural affairs of relevant provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, research institutes, and companies. The Fruit Culture Exhibition and the Lancang–Mekong Fruit Market, which ran until Sept. 2, attracted the enthusiastic participation of over a thousand residents.