Corona beer lovers know there's only one thing that can make it better: adding a wedge of lime. It's a ritual practiced in countries throughout the world, including China.
What's lesser known is that China largely imports its limes from Vietnam and Taiwan. Farmers who do grow limes locally are generally small, family-run businesses who struggle to produce high quality crops and make ends meet. Most live outside the city of Ziyang, in rural Anyue County, Sichuan Province and lack the skills or resources needed to improve their operations and become more profitable. Upon learning about the lime growers' struggles, Corona, and its local maker, Budweiser Brewing Company (BBC) China, stepped in to help.
“BBC China has long worked to financially empower, upskill and connect local farmers who grow the natural ingredients used to brew our beers,” says Gracy Gao, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, BBC China. “It was a natural fit to expand our efforts to improve the livelihoods of lime growers and contribute to the local community with support from Corona, a brand that's been enjoyed with lime for decades.”
Together with the Anyue County Industry Bureau, the Corona X Lime Poverty Alleviation Project was created in 2019, and receives strong support from local government leaders in Ziyang, and the city's deputy mayor, Yuexia Zhou.
The project is led by a team of technical and agricultural experts who identify low-income villages in areas suitable for growing lime crops. The staff teaches the farmers how to improve their land, properly apply pesticides and fertilizers, purchase equipment and learn techniques to improve their yields. The initiative creates new farming jobs in the community and improves crop quality.
The limes are then bundled and sold with Corona beers to bars, pubs and restaurants nationwide, which provides a consistent source of income for the farmers. In the first month of the 2020 harvest more than 4,300 kg/9,500 lbs of limes were sold.
Thanks to the partnership with government, the Corona X Lime Poverty Alleviation Project was highlighted at the Global Lemon Development Industry Conference held in Ziyang late last year. Up next, Anyue County lime farmers will take the leap into the digital age, when project leaders introduce them to selling direct to consumers on e-commerce platforms like TikTok and Tmall.
“We are thrilled to see the Corona X Lime Poverty Alleviation Project become a model for lifting farmers out of poverty and a means to building more thriving communities in China,” says Gracy Gao.