On 29th September, 2015, the 17th Zhanhua Winter Jujube Festival inaugurated in Binzhou, China. The event was co-sponsored by the Forestry Department of Shandong Province, the Tourism Administration of Shandong Province and the People’s Government of Binzhou City and organized by the Forestry Bureau of Binzhou City, the Tourism Bureau of Binzhou City, the CPC Committee of Zhanhua County and the People’s Government of Zhanhua County. Mr. WangWei, Chairperson of the China Forest Certification Council (CFCC) and Executive Deputy Director General of the Science and Technology Development Centre of the State Forestry Administration (SFA) attended the opening ceremony and presented in person “the CFCC Logo Usage Notification Letter”. After certified against the China Forest Certification Scheme (CFCS), Zhanhua winter jujube can formally carry the CFCC logo and be launched into market, thereby Zhanhua winter jujube has become the first CFCC-certified fresh fruit non-timber forest products in China. Thanks to the mutual-recognition between CFCC and PEFC, the certified entity named the Winter Jujube Service Centre of Zhanhua District has been entitled to PEFC Logo Usage after acceptance of its application; therefore, the Zhanhua winter jujube products have carried the CFCC-PEFC combined logo.  


The cultivation and planting of Zhanhua winter jujube can date from more than 1000 years ago and it has been appraised as “Protected Product of Designated Origin in China” and “Product with National Geographic Mark”. Currently, the area of winter jujube of Zhanhua district of Binzhou City has reached 33,333 and more hectares, with an annual output of over 0.45 billion kilograms and an annual sales revenue of over 2.7 billion RMB yuan.  


After getting awareness of “sustainable management” pursued by China Forest Certification and the sound development and bright prospects of forest certification products at home and abroad, since 2014, the government and forestry bureau of Zhanhua district have decided to encourage and steer the winter jujube planting households in applying for CFCC NTFP Certification for their winter jujube products. Invited by the Forestry Bureau of Zhanhua district, several experts from Chinese Academy of Forestry and Academy of Forestry of Shandong Province carried out on-site forest certification training, steering jujube farmers and production cooperatives in opting for certification and regulating their management and planting in accordance with relevant certification standards and criteria. Through strenuous endeavors, nearly 541 hectares of jujube forests owned by the first batch of 14 cooperatives in Xiawa town of Zhanhua district have obtained the CFCC certificate after being smoothly audited by a third-party certification body. The winter jujube products carrying the CFCC-PEFC combined logo will surely bring real benefits in enhancing the Zhanhua winter jujube brand and increasing the income of jujube farmers. Based on conservative estimate, the 1017 households engaged in jujube planting and production in total within the certification scope are expected to increase their income by tens of millions of RMB yuan. 


At the opening ceremony of the winter jujube festival, Mr. Wang noted that getting Zhanhua winter jujube CFCC-certified for the coordinated features in striking a balance among ecological, economic and social pillars represented an importance practice in realizing sustainable development in society. Ms. Yu Ling, Director of the Certification Division of the Science and Technology Development Centre of the SFA warmly welcomed the winter jujube farmers to actively opt for forest certification. In return, the China Forest Certification would also help Zhanhua winter jujube in enhancing brand, being launched into international market and going global. A winter jujube farmer named Sun Guanpeng said that in recent years, thanks to the application of new technologies and E-commerce, jujube farmers have broadened their horizon and acquired substantive benefits. The adoption of the new concept of forest certification will bring more opportunities and development for Zhanhua winter jujube.


(Author: Zhao Jie, Forest Certification Research Centre of SFA)

(This article is from "Sustainable Forest Management" Weixin Platform)

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