KUNMING, July 24, Xinhua - President Xi Jinping might be leading another food craze among Chinese diners. Moringa, an edible plant, whose Chinese name literally means "spicy wood," is a token of the ever-lasting friendship between China and Cuba under a Sino-Cuban joint research program.


Chinese President Xi Jinping(L) visits Cuban revolution leader Fidel Castro and presented him seeds of moringa and mulberry in Havana, capital of Cuba, July 22, 2014.(Xinhua)

Xi presented Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro seeds of moringa and mulberry on Tuesday, and promised closer cooperation with Cuba to develop the plant.

It's not the first time Xi has made food a hit.

In December, the president made a surprise visit to a Beijing-based Qingfeng steamed bun chain, which is famous for its wallet-friendly offerings.

The restaurant witnessed a surge in sales after Xi's visit. Qingfeng even named Xi's orders -- pork-and-onion stuffed buns, boiled green vegetable salad and stir-fried pig liver and intestine soup -- as the "President Combo".

There are signs moringa will follow suit.

Ma Yun, general manager of Jingji Moringa Development Co.,Ltd., one of the pioneers in China in moringa growing, said he has received many calls from potential business partners in the past couple of days.

Originating from northwest India, moringa rooted itself in Taiwan in the 19th century. It was introduced to Yunnan Province in the 1960s as an oil material.

The plant is high in protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Throughout history it's been valued for its healing capacity, its ability to reverse malnutrition and purify water.
When Ma got to know the plant in 1999 at the Kunming World Horticulture Exposition, moringa received little attention.

"President Xi mentioned moringa several times during his visit in Cuba, which will promote it tremendously," Ma said.

Yunnan is a major producer of moringa as the suitable environment provides fertile ground for the plant to grow. In Hani-Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Honghe in the southern part of Yunnan, the dry-hot valley is perfect for moringa to flourish.

In Yunyang County, where Ma's moringa fields are located, officials are encouraging him to expand his planting area.

Liu Changfen, a Chinese pioneer on moringa study, and expert with the Tropical Crop Research Institute in Yunnan accompanied Xi, then Chinese vice president, to Cuba in 2011 and visited Castro's house.

"There are plenty of moringa trees in the yard of Fidel Castro's house," she recalled.

Soon after the visit, the Ministry of Agriculture started a cooperation with Cuba in terms of pest control, breeding and development of cultivation techniques, said Liu.

In April this year, the China-Cuba Moringa Science & Technology Cooperation Center was launched at Liu's institute, while its counterpart was unveiled in Havana on Tuesday.

"President Xi took 5 kg of moringa seed with him to Cuba this time," Liu said.

There are 5,000 to 6,000 hectares of moringa grown in China.

"Almost all parts of the plant are edible and tasty," said Liu.

"Leaves and seeds of moringa are not spicy. Its spicy root is the only reason we call it 'spicy wood'," said Yan Shuping, a forestry expert in Yunnan.

Eating moringa is popular among some Chinese people. It's usually eaten in an omelette.

On the Chinese shopping website Taobao, there are already nearly 4,000 moringa-related products.
In online shop "Moringa Home", different products can be found, for example, moringa tea, seeds and noodles.

"I have received more orders thanks to President Xi's visit, and we definitely will develop more varieties of the food," said the store owner.

GANSU, July 15, China 的aily - ong the banks of the Yellow River in Baiyin city’s beautiful wetland park, Northwest China’s Gansu province, the Yellow River Cultural Tourism Festival kicked off on July 11, reported.

As part of the fourth Dunhuang Tour Silk Road International Tourism Festival held in Gansu from June 15 to July 15, the Yellow River tourism festival aims to further explore local cultural and touristic resources, especially within the tourist routes of the Yellow River Stone Forest and the Yellow River gorges.


Art performances at the opening ceremony of the Yellow River Cultural Tourism Festivalheld in Baiyin in Northwest China’s Gansu province on July 11. [Photo/]

Li Lanhong, secretary of Baiyin district’s Party committee, gave a speech at the opening ceremony and said Baiyin district has effectively balanced urban and rural development and does its utmost to develop countryside tourism.

As for next step, the district will need to merge culture, tourism and technology to promote its important projects, Li added. He said the district will focus on the construction of infrastructure, branding and attracting investment in order to further improve.


Chen Qiyin, vice-mayor of Baiyin city, Gansu province, gives a speech at the opening ceremony of the Yellow River Cultural Tourism Festival on July 11. [Photo/]

In addition to artistic performances, Gansu calligraphers and photographers were invited to exhibit their works and conduct on-site demonstrations during the event.
Nearly 1,000 people including local government officials, representatives from travel agencies and enterprises, and reporters attended the opening ceremony.


Li Lanhong, secretary of Baiyin district’s Party committee, gives a speech at the opening ceremony of the Yellow River Cultural Tourism Festival on July 11. [Photo/]

FUJIAN, July 11, China 的aily - Green tea from a tea garden in Guanyang village, Pingnan county, Fujian province, got approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be exported to America.

Guo Xueyi, owner of the tea garden, is 67 years old. He came from Beijing to Guanyang village and established the tea garden 10 years ago. The tea garden is surrounded by wetland, stream and forest. Guanyang village is 900 meters above sea level, and has a big temperature difference between day and night, which is best for growing green tea.


Guo Xueyi introduces his green tea to a local official.

Americans set strict standards for food, and Guo Xueyi said that there were two factors for his tea gaining favor in America. One is that the tea is without pesticides. The other is that catechin content in the tea is almost twice the normal level. And the vitamin C content in the tea is 100 times the level of an American tangerine.

Guo Xueyi has two plans for the development of his tea garden. First, he is planning to build a green tea capsule processing factory in Pingnan and make the tea available in the domestic market. Second, he plans to turn the tea garden into a resort. Last year, 100 older people from all over China came to the garden, and more visitors are expected to spend their holidays in the garden this year.

The tea garden has provided many jobs for local residents, and working in the tea garden can pay better than farming. There is a highway under construction across the tea garden, which will provide more convenience and bring more opportunities.

HUAI’AN, July 8, Xinhua - The 28th National Lotus Flowers Exhibition kicks off on July 8, 2014 at Jinhu County in Huai'an, east China's Jiangsu Province.

Photo taken on July 8, 2014 shows lotus flowers during the 28th National Lotus Flowers Exhibition. (Xinhua/Chen Yichen)

HO CHI MINH CITY, June 25, Xinhua - Vietnam has become the 69th member of the International Tropical Timber Organization ( ITTO), and its entry is expected to bring more benefits to the country's forest sector, local media reported Wednesday.

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