Northwest China is adding value to 38,000 hectares of high-quality thin-shell walnut groves

Farmers at a small village in western Xinjiang hardly had any days off this winter. Production at a walnut processing factory is going full throttle to meet demand.

Yusup Tursun and his wife are walnut farmers in Kupchi Village in Yecheng County on the edge of the Taklimakan Desert. The couple has been hired by a new walnut processing facility in the village, with the husband a quality inspector and his wife working part-time cracking nuts.

As a main base for walnut production, Yecheng has over 38,000 hectares of high-quality thin-shell walnut groves.

“It used to be quite difficult to sell the walnuts. The factories, with so many products, have made it easier for the sales,” Yusup said.

Seven companies make products from the nuts — walnut milk, walnut candies and edible oil. The shells are made into coloring agent and pollutant-absorbing carbon.

Diversity in the walnut products pushed the industry output to a new high of 2 billion yuan (about 299 million U.S. dollars). Three in every five people work in the walnut industry in Yecheng, where 550,000 people live.

Across Xinjiang, processing facilities are established to add value to agricultural products. Transport and logistical services are improved to boost the sales of Xinjiang’s signature agricultural products such as Hami melons, Korla pears and Turpan grapes.