China’s stockpiling of imported almonds and other dry fruits raises eyebrows


Job Cornelius

Mumbai : At a time when whole world is collectively bleeding owing deadly Covid-19 virus outbreak and even superpowers like US, France, Italy have miserably failed to deal with this menace, China showing the sign of remarkable recovery in controlling pandemic giving enough ground to raise doubts whether China was already in preparation mode to deal with lethal disease, especially after knowing the fact that China was stockpiling the almond, an immune enhancer dryfruit, by importing from US exponentially.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, China’s imports of tree nuts grew average 20 per cent on year basis over the past few years, with the sales value of the trade forecast to rise to $13.3 billion by 2020. Almonds, pistachios and macadamia nuts were the most sought-after dryfruits among the Chinese, who regard them as health foods. While soyabeans, grains and pork were widely expected to be part of the Chinese import from US, but almonds and nuts came as a shocker for the American dryfruit farmers.
China is already facing criticism for keeping WHO and other world fraternity in dark to alert about the Covid-19 outbreak in early stage, that were reported in early November 2019 and all world leaders and humanitarin experts are now pitching against this country.
Understandably, the world’s two largest economies have been locked in a bitter trade battle as the US and China have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of one another’s goods. In fact, the United States dominates the global production of almonds, followed by traditional almond growers Spain and Italy, the other two country which are hit hard by the pandemic.
But, Surprisingly, even during ongoing trade war between the two super powers and hefty retaliatory tariffs imposed on American nuts, China actually boosted shipments of US pistachios and almonds last year. China kept importing almonds and other nuts growingly year after year since last 10 years. An analysis of the data obtained from the WTO website indicates that big traders and companies were involved in trading and hoarding of almonds and other dryfruits.
According to the latest report by the Almond Board of California, American state California remained the largest almond producer in the world, which is the only place in North America that grows almond for commercial purposes.
When asked, a Mumbai-based dryfruit trader and office bearer of APMC market, the apex body for more than 300 Agriculture Produces Market Committees in Maharashtra, said that the import of excessive almonds amidst the trade war, gives enough scope on China’s hidden motive.
The trader, who understands the vitality of the almonds, said on the condition of anonymity, “China adopted same antics during SARS virus in 2003 when this respiratory system damaging virus broke from there. It kept the world community in dark and prepared itself stealthily. I feel, China repeating same here. At a time when more and more country are being adversely affected by Covid-19 virus, China is limping back.”
He also felt that China’s bonhomie with Pakistan is also a part of its preparedness plan as the communist country imported huge stock of almonds from this Islamic country, which is ironically very much dependent on Chinese investment.
When contacted to know about the nutritious aspects of almonds, noted physician and founder director of ACS Health, Dr Ashish K Tiwari told Winning Bizness, “Almond’s skin contains a naturally occurring chemical which is supposed to increase immunity. This chemical improves the ability of the white blood cells to detect viruses & it also increase the body’s ability to prevent viruses from replicating and spreading inside the body. Almond skins are able to stimulate the immune response and thus contribute to an antiviral immune defence.”
Moreover, the researchers from the Institute of Food Research in Norwich and Italy’s Policlinico Universitario have also found that naturally occurring chemicals found in skin of almonds boost immune system’s response to viral infections.
However, Vijay Sardana, the New Delhi based expert in the subjects spanning across economic policies, consumer-agri-food products sees this development from the different glass.
Speaking to Winning Bizness, Sardana said, “China is mainly meat and fish eater, therefore, immunity is not a big issue over there. High end food products have got center-stage in China with respect to rising living standard and economic prosperity. China remained among very country that held international level conferences in world class exhibition centers and even US almond producers were quite okay exporting dryfruits to China.”
Sardana, also a noted lawyer specialized in Techno-legal issues including trade and investment, said that we could have cast serious doubts over China’s motives, if there was sadden and proven spurt in almond’s import post November 2019, which seem very unlikely.




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