Home >> News

Chilies help make ties a hot success story

Updated: 2022-07-18 09:06 ( Xinhua )
Share - WeChat

Gently spin a globe and one would easily find the Tropic of Cancer, a beautiful arc that runs through a dozen countries including China and Mexico.

For Mexican Gerardo Guillermo Canton, the shape of the arc resembles a common ingredient found in his homeland-a chili.

Gerardo left Mexico for China to work in the fall of 2021. He once read a book about the Red Army's Long March, and a story about chilies attracted him most. He learned that during the Long March, soldiers used chilies as a substitute for medicines and salt due to the shortage of supplies. Meanwhile, to overcome the fatigue brought by the night march, some soldiers smeared the chilies on their temples to stimulate their nerves.

For a closer look at this history, Gerardo visited the monument marking the departure of the Central Red Army on the Long March, in Yudu county, Jiangxi province.

Standing in front of a yellowed and worn-out rough satchel, Gerardo was told it was a kit used by the Red Army soldiers to store household items, including chilies, for easy access.

With a history of more than 700 years, Tantou village, located in Yudu, was a poverty-stricken village. Today, the village has embarked on the road to prosperity by planting chilies and other selenium-rich fruits and vegetables.

Wang Erfa, a 56-year-old villager who previously held several unstable jobs, now earns 3,000 yuan ($447) per month by growing chilies.

"Many villagers of my age can find a job at the nearby vegetable base to make more money and take care of their families," says Wang.

Standing in front of rows of modern standard greenhouses, Gerardo watches farmers pick and pack ripe peppers, as several trucks carrying the produce drive out of the mountain village.

According to Wang Dongxiang, deputy director of the Selenium Industry Development Center in Yudu, the county's current selenium-rich chili planting area has reached 8 square kilometers, with an annual output of 78,000 metric tons and annual revenues of 470 million yuan. Wang says the industry employs more than 8,000 rural workers in the county.

Technology has helped realize high quality and high yield, says Liu Lianyun, Party secretary of Tantou village.

"Before, we could only harvest once a year; now, we harvest four times," Liu says.

Chili peppers originate from Mexico. More than four centuries ago, chili peppers from Mexico were shipped along the Maritime Silk Road to China aboard the Manila galleons.

Thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative more than 400 years later, Chinese chili peppers have made their way to the dining tables in Mexico, one of the world's largest markets for the hot fruit.

The Mexican Chili Products Commission estimates that about 30 percent of the green chilies sold in Mexico come from China. In the first five months of this year, China exported unground dried chilies worth more than 120 million yuan to Mexico, with about 50 million yuan of ground dried chilies, according to China's General Administration of Customs.

Sebastian Amaro, a food expert at Mexico's Convent Juana University, is optimistic about the future of chili cooperation between China and Mexico.

"The Mexican market has a wide variety of chili products from China. The cooperation between Mexico and China in the technology and process of the chili industry is bound to achieve fruitful results," says Amaro.

Hot words
Most Popular