China farmers, firms feel worry as customers stay at home due to virus outbreak - GulfToday

China farmers, firms feel worry as customers stay at home due to virus outbreak

Strawberry farmers 1

Strawberry farmer Li Zimin arranges his fruit for sale. Reuters

 Li Zimin, a Strawberry farmer in Jiujiang, a Chinese city usually experiences peak season during the beginning of the year.

With the case of coronavirus epidemic that has killed almost 500 people, sales have plunged for Li.

The 38-year-old Strawberry farmer has 23 greenhouses covering 1.5 acres. Due to his customers staying at home to avoid contagion, his strawberries might have to be thrown away.

"The Spring Festival is supposed to be our best time," he said.

Strawberry farmers 2
Strawberry farmer Li Zimin poses for a picture in a greenhouse at his farm. Reuters

"This year it has coincided with this, so there will definitely be losses," he said of the outbreak. I just hope this epidemic can be over quickly. That way my strawberries can return to normal sales levels."

The outbreak of the coronavirus that started in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province has put China under global isolation.  The whole of Hubei has been put under virtual lockdown, train and plane services have been suspended and roads sealed off.

Jiujiang, the home of Li with the a pooulation of 5 million has reported 86 cases of coronavirus infection. Jiujiang is separated from Hubei by the Yangtze River.

Strawberry farmers 3
Strawberries that are ready to pick are seen in a greenhouse. Reuters

Businesses have also been affected. From restaurants, karaoke parlours and cinemas all have ceased operation till further notice.

Banquets and other gatherings have also been prohibited.

"It doesn't look good for this year," said the owner of a Muslim restaurant, surnamed Ma, who wondered what he would do with the extra supplies he brought in for a Lunar New Year surge in business that never happened.

Taxi driver Liao Jidong marvelled during a tour of Jiujiang's main shopping streets on Tuesday at how unusually quiet it was on the eleventh day of the new year, an auspicious date in the Chinese calendar.

Related articles