More people living in cities worldwide are growing vegetables in their homes and communities to provide a source of food and as a diversion during lengthy homestays during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cultivating fruits and vegetables on allotments was common in cities especially during wartime, when city residents supplemented their rations with what they could grow out of the land. The coronavirus pandemic sent home-bound residents cultivating in their backyards, balconies, and terraces.
Production line at Stanley Agriculture Co., part of Pinduoduo’s New Brand Initiatives
On Pinduoduo, sales of the gardening category rose more than 150% in 2020 from the year earlier. Demand for tools such as electric lawn mowers, irrigation systems, and planting boxes more than tripled last year.
To cater to this rising demand, one of China’s largest fertilizer companies, Stanley Agriculture Group Co., joined Pinduoduo’s New Brand initiative to create a new fertilizer line suitable for aspiring horticulturists. The company also plans to sell premium-quality soil suitable for growing vegetables through Pinduoduo, the country’s biggest agriculture e-commerce marketplace.
“This is a huge opportunity for Stanley to expand new businesses and cultivate new brands,” said Zuo Jinliang, general manager of Stanley’s horticultural fertilizer business. “Pinduoduo’s user demographic fits us very well.”
Founded in 1992, Stanley produces and sells fertilizer and listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2011.
The company will focus on online sales as the mainstay of its consumer strategy, to be supplemented by its national offline network, said Zuo.
Soil testing and analysis at Stanley Agriculture
At stake is a rapidly growing market that is estimated to exceed 800 million yuan ($124 million) in annual sales by 2025, according to a report by Foresight Industry Research Institute.
Since setting up on Pinduoduo, Stanley has made dozens of products available for sale through the platform, including slow-release fertilizer, nutrient granules, nutrient solution and powder.
Through analysis, Pinduoduo identified four types of fertilizer for home gardening: general, fruits, leafy vegetables and organic.
“At present, the home gardening industry lacks uniform standards and the products are uneven,” Zuo said. “Horticultural fertilizers and agricultural fertilizers have certain product relevance, and the development cycle is relatively short. We are very confident in this direction.”