China’s military gets in on crayfish production to cash in on soaring demand

Demand and pricing for crayfish continues to draw new players into the sector – even a unit of the Chinese military. 

The First Division, Eighth Brigade of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a paramilitary group with control of vast swathes of China western frontier regions, has begun farming and selling crayfish. Styling itself in commercial deals as the China Xinjian Group, the XPCC has its roots in the 1950s, when it was created to impose Chinese control on the sprawling westerly region of Xinjiang, home to the Uyghur people, a Turkic group with more in common with central Asia and Turkey than with the ethnic Han Chinese.

“Crayfish are selling for CNY 80 (USD 11.77, EUR 10.45) per kilogram, that is very good,” explained Huang Qiang, head of the aquatic production unit of the unit’s investment promotion office. Huang was talking to the daily newspaper published by the XPCC, which oversees artillery units as well as vast farms. 

“Our biggest difficulty is getting through winter,” according to Tang Yue, head technician at the aquatic base which also farms loach, crab, and river snail. “They [crayfish] don’t need have a need of very high-quality water and can grow in lakes, wetlands, rivers and canals.”

Tang told the newspaper of the unit’s belief in the “vast potential in the market” for crayfish, which he said has “delicious, low fat and high nutrition meat.”

Separately, crayfish producers and officials in Hubei Province – ground zero for the sector – have set up a national trading center for crayfish. The China Crayfish Trading Centre, which opened at Jingzhou city in Hubei this month, was opened by Jianli Co Yi Nong Aquatic Products Science & Technology Co.   


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