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Agricultural public brand construction in Ningbo well under way
2018-11-25Text Size: A A A

After careful preliminary survey, expert assessment, joint checkup and demonstration, and solicitation of public opinions through media, in Mid-November, Ninghai County issued its regional public brand for the farm produce, namely the "zhenxian" brand.

The brand name "zhenxian" actually refers to the table delicacies from both land and sea, with "zhen" meaning "precious" and "xian" meaning "delicious", which can demonstrate the richness and superiority of the farm produce of the county. Direct and concise, the brand name may bring great imagination to the consumers. According to a person in charge from the Industrialization Office of Ninghai Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry, it has been a great measure for the county's integration of the whole county's agricultural resources and improvement of its comprehensive competitiveness in agriculture to implement the strategy of "regional public brand construction for farm produce".

It turns out that the regional public brand construction has played an active role in integrating the area's brand resources and realizing the premium appreciation of the farm produce. Therefore, it has become a new trend for the domestic farm produce brand construction to build the public brands for farm produce. The different areas of Ningbo have made some beneficial explorations in this field.

Joining hands to build big regional public brands

With the spacious and bright hall and various kinds of goods, the postal experience center located on the Danxi Street of Xiangshan County is full of the strong local flavor.

"We have all the featured quality farm produce from the Xiangshan County, and you can find almost all products from the mountain areas and from the sea." said Su Dongshen, who is in charge of the center. All the farm produce on the shelves have a common brand name, that is, "peninsula flavor".

The "peninsula flavor" is a comprehensive public brand for the farm produce of Xiangshan County, launched in 2017, registered by Xiangshan County Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry, with its Wechat Mall operated and products purchased and delivered by Xiangshan Post Company. The "peninsula brand" is the parent brand for the farm produce of the county, and the products can be traced through the QR code, said Tao Anan from the Industry Section of Xiangshan County Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry. So far, over 40 business entities, including leading enterprises, professional cooperatives and family farms, have joined in the brand system, and there are now over 300 varieties of farm produce for sale. Besides in Xiangshan County, the "peninsula flavor" has also opened brand stores in Yuyao County and Jinhua.

In the past, Xiangshan County had several National Geographical Indication Agricultural Products, like oranges, white geese and swimming crabs. However, it is a pity that there was no unified brand and sales channel for those products.

To address the problem, Xiangshan County has made great efforts to implement the brand building strategy for the agricultural products. By building the regional public brand for the farm produce and constructing the online and offline channels, the county has established a bridge between the producers and terminal consumers, improved the reputation of its farm produce and achieved the increase of the agricultural income for the farmers. "We have very strict standard for the brands that can be licensed by the 'peninsula flavor' brand. Only those products that are pollution-free farm produce, green food, organic produce or geographical indication farm produce, and that are traceable, can be included in the supply system." said Tao Anan. The strict access rules may encourage the farm produce business entities to strengthen their awareness of quality and brand.

"The lychee from Fujian and Guangdong and grape from the Xiliang area are not comparable to the waxberry from the Wuyue area." said Su Dongpo, a famous literary giant in the Song Dynasty. In April 2018, Cixi County Federation of Farmers' Cooperative Organizations planned to launch two regional public brands for "Cixi Waxberry" and "Cixi Grape", as well as a comprehensive regional public brand for the farm produce of the whole county. In Mid-June, the "Cixi Waxberry" brand made its debut, with the new IP image of "waxberry fairy" and the slogan of "original flavor, original waxberry", demonstrating the geographical advantages of the good variety, good quality and good ecology for the waxberry and a strong sense of nostalgia.

This new brand has thus completely changed the situation of the waxberry industry of the county with a strong unified brand.

One month later, a tasting and promotion meeting for the grapes from Cixi County was held in Shanghai, when the "Cixi Grape" public brand was officially released. Its slogan of "Cixi Grape: delicious sweet grape from the bay" well summaries the sweetness and unique taste of the grape.

After the launching of the two big regional public brands, Cixi County entrusted the professional brand design teams to design the comprehensive brand for its farm produce, which may integrate its regional humanity and product features. As a result, the "Cixi agricultural select" brand sign, including words, pattern and advertisement slogan, has been finalized. Meanwhile, the county has established the systematic assessment system for the farm produce to include the most influential and most valuable farm produce brands into the list of the famous brands in Cixi County and regularly publish the list in a dynamic way.

The brand building helps to promote sales of the farm produce. In Mid-July, 2018, the sales of the grapes produced by the Xinpu Town of Cixi County greeted its peak season. With blooming sales to grape dealers from Beijing, Hebei Province and Shanxi Province, etc., the price of the grapes increased by 20%.

For Yuyao County, the pickled mustard is more like a symbol of the county than a mere industry, as the county has three brands listed as "Chinese Top Brand"  and 16 as "Famous Trademark of China", and the sales volume of its pickled mustard products accounts for half of the total of the country. According to a third-party assessment, in 2017, the brand value of the "Yuyao Pickled Mustard" exceeded seven billion yuan, ranking No.1 among all the farm produce brands in Zhejiang Province.

A long way to go for brand building

The agricultural brand construction is an important supporting point to enhance the comprehensive profit and competitiveness of agriculture, as well as an important breach to deepen the agricultural front-supply structural reform.

According to some experts, there is much difficulty in the brand building as the regional farm produce items are scattered. Building the public brand is a good way to solve the problem.

In recent years, with the focus on the construction of the modern comprehensive agricultural zones, the demonstration zones for leading industries and the featured agricultural product parks, Ningbo has realized the realized the reasonable layout of industrial parks and brands, effectively extended the industrial chains and formed the professional coordination based on division of labor, making the modern agricultural zones the advantageous area for agricultural production and brand integration and expansion.

Some districts or counties, with their unique natural or historical resources and the long-term development of growing, breeding or processing technologies, have developed the brands with distinctive regional characteristics, such as the potherb mustard of Yinzhou district, the honey peach of Fenghua District, the "red beauty" orange of Xiangshan County, the East Zhejiang white goose, and the soft-shelled turtle of Yuyao County.

Despite the progress made in the county-level public brand construction for farm produce, there is still a long way to go in the face of the competition of the farm produce from home and abroad, the dramatic resource environment constraints, and the new social demands and brand consumption trend.

The farm produce in Ningbo is rich in variety and large in number, but the regional public brand for farm produce is still small in number. Generally speaking, there are still such problems as low industrial output value, low external reputation and small market share for the regional public brands, so their influence is too limited. There is a great difference with such nationally known regional public brands as the Anxi Tieguanyin Tea and the Yantai Apple.

The input for the regional public brand construction is still far from enough. Since 2016, Ningbo Government and Ningbo Municipal Party Committee have focused on brand building and proposed the "famous city" construction strategy. The financial departments at all levels have increased their input in the agricultural brand building, but there is still a great gap from the requirements of the green agricultural city construction. As there is no specialized organization for the standardized administration of some regional public brands and there is no long-term planning in terms of the top-level design, the brand resources cannot be effectively integrated for the large-scale effect of the brands.

The standardized production is still at a low level. As the producers are generally scattered and some lack confidence for the operation model of the standardized production, it's hard to achieve the unified quality of farm produce. In addition, the weak promotion role of the leading agricultural enterprises or farmers' professional cooperatives has to some extent limited the development of the regional public brands. 

Cooperation to promote regional brand building

With a large population and a small size of farming land, Ningbo has a limited space for development agriculture, and it is impossible for the city to gain competitive edge through the size and yield of the land. Only by developing featured agriculture and expanding the path of brand agriculture can Ningbo stand firm in face of the fierce market competition.

So far, a group of county-level public brands for farm produce have sprung up, but there is still not a unified public brand for the whole city. Some experts suggest that by taking advantage of the agricultural supply-front structural reform, Ningbo can launch a unified regional public brand for its farm produce and implement the supporting policies to realize the agglomeration of such elements as capital, talents and technology, thus creating a good system environment that may benefit the formation and development of the regional public brand for farm produce.

As a systematic project, the regional public brand building is in need of coordination of different parties. Based on such mature public brands as the Yuyao prickled mustard, Yinzhou potherb mustard and Fenghua honey peach, some large-scale featured industries have been developed. Since 2017, Xiangshan County has established a special office for the regional public brand building for farm produce and the leading group for the high-quality and high-level development of its "red beauty" orange industry, which has launched the supporting policies for the industrial development and brand building, providing labor, capital and resource support.

The agricultural section organizations play an irreplaceable role in such aspects as providing production services, drafting product standard, issuing product information, standardizing brand use and protecting brand rights. The leading agricultural enterprises are not only the main beneficiaries of the regional public brands but also the main force for the brand construction. To give full play to the core role of the leading agricultural enterprises can promote the cluster development of the suppliers, producers and deals. A completed economic chain for the regional public brand of farm produce will be constructed through the building and operation of the brand enterprises, brand industries and brand products.

To realize the agricultural brand development, a supporting system for technological innovation should be established integrating technological input, talents, platforms, information and products. To build the regional public brands, the whole-process services for farm produce production, processing and sales must be strengthened. The farm produce processors should input more in their technological research and development and improve their independent innovative capacity, improve the quality of the traditional products with the latest technologies, enrich the regional brand connotation with the best technological achievements and unify the brand production with the optimistic technological standards, thus developing and strengthening the regional public brand for farm produce. 



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