China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of garlic

Qin Jun Wei


After years of developing garlic crops, the Mainland has standardized the production, export and business of the industry. Garlic has also become an important source of income for farmers.

Garlic demand falls into three types: For domestic consumption; for exports, and for use as raw materials in many products. Between 2006 and 2010, China’s exports and domestic consumption of garlic rose considerably, by an average of 100,000 tons a year. Cities such as Laiwu and Jinxiang in Shandong have helped the eastern coastal province emerge as a leader in garlic production.

But last year, garlic exports from China fell. Between January and December, around 1,545,270 tons of garlic worth around US $1.69 billion was exported from China, 15.3 percent less than the previous year. The decline in garlic revenues led to a 32.2 percent drop for China from garlic exports. Garlic prices also fell – by 20 percent to around US $1,093.3 a ton.

International demand and supply have affect garlic pricing. Natural disasters, new garlic acreage, price expectations of market participants also play an important part in determining the price. But as major producers of garlic, the Mainlanders are optimistic about the future prospects of this unique vegetable.

The world’s top ten garlic producers are China, India, South Korea, Egypt, Russia, Burma, Ethiopia, United States, Bangladesh and Ukraine.


Garlic has many uses. It is a widely recognized health supplement, containing a sulphur compound called allicin, a chemical produced when garlic is chopped, chewed or bruised and is what makes garlic smell. Allicin is a powerful antibiotic and a potent agent that helps the body inhibit the ability of germs to grow and reproduce. Garlic promotes the well-being of the heart and immune systems and has antioxidant properties.

However, garlic does have some side effects – and not just garlic breath – if used in excess. Overly high doses have shown to be toxic to the heart or kidney, for instance.

Dr Rajesh Vyas, a naturopath physician from San Jose, California, says garlic’s health benefits are enormous. The vegetable helps patients suffering from diarrhea, constipation, belching and irritable bowel syndrome. Garlic purifies blood, helps prevent clotting and reduces blood pressure. Garlic also has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, he says.

A Mumbai-based cardiologist, Dr Shoaib Padaria, says: “I recommend garlic – either in raw or in pearl form. The latter is a concentration of garlic oil, which works once it reaches the intestines. Though there have been reports that heart patients who’ve been prescribed blood thinner supplements should not take garlic, I see no such harm.”


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