Feature: Belt and Road, a way linking dreams with reality

Tian Dongdong, Fu Yiming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, 05 15, 2018
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COPENHAGEN, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Compared with the national average farm area of 70 hectares, a 27-hectare organic piglet farm is relatively small in Denmark. But Randi Vinfeldt, owner of the farm, dreams big.

"I want more organic pig farms all over the world. If more people in the world want more organic pigs or piglets, it would mean that I get a better price," she told Xinhua in an exclusive interview in late April.

However, dreams are bigger than reality. Due to the farm's relatively small size, Vinfeldt found it is difficult for her to sell her pigs directly to bigger players like Friland, an international food company affiliated with the Danish Crown Group, one of the world's largest meat exporters, which demands a large number of pigs on a regular basis.

If you sell pigs to Friland, they will take care of everything. But they are not interested in us because we don't have enough pigs for them, she told Xinhua.

But the Belt and Road Initiative could help to change the situation, she agreed, reflecting on the increasing interest in the initiative in Europe one year after the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing.

Proposed in 2013, the initiative aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes, offering a shortcut for Danish goods to reach the Chinese market.

If the initiative benefits bigger players like Danish Crown and Friland, they would demand more pork from farmers, including smaller farmers like us, said Vinfeldt, adding she was excited by the prospect.

"China is so huge and that's why we are so interested in China," she said.

"I can feel China's big interest in organic pork. One or two years ago, I had a visit from two young Chinese from Shanghai. They started a restaurant there and came here to see how an organic pig farm works," said Vinfeldt, adding that their visit gave her confidence that China's organic market was growing.

Things actually develop faster than Vinfeldt expected. According to Friland CEO Henrik Biilmann, Danish Crown has already launched conventional pork in China on test base via railways along the Belt and Road, with organic pork transporting by train on its agenda.

"If there is a link across countries instead of sea, the transport will be shorter. And time is money for everybody both on the buying and selling sides. It will bring the two markets (China and Denmark) closer together," said Biilmann.

Besides, the railway could carry Danish pork directly to China's big inland cities such as Chengdu and Xi'an, capital cities of Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces with a total population of more than 120 million, 24 times that of Denmark.

"It (the Belt and Road Initiative) would be a great initiative to make the doors even more open for Danish export to China. It also strengthens the possibility of close collaboration between China and Denmark, making information to Chinese consumers even better about Danish products, which hopefully will also raise the motivation for looking into a broader range of Danish products," said Lise Walbom, CEO of Food Nation, the official Danish consortium for promoting products, solutions and competences from the Danish food cluster.

"That would be definitely a possibility," she added.

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