The rush for rapeseed which has turned much of Britain’s countryside into a sea of gold for several months every year appears to have spread to China.
These striking images show huge swathes of land in the country’s southern Luoping area covered with the distinctive crop, which has proved to be a popular biofuel.
China produces 15 million tons of rapeseed a year to feed its only internal demand for the oil produced by the crop for both cooking and as a biofuel.
Demand for rapeseed in the UK has increased significantly in recent years as record numbers of the nation’s farmers cash in on the soaring price of oil from rapeseed by swapping traditional crops for rapeseed.
These photographs were taken by German photographer Anne Berlin as she drove through the Yunnan region on a photo tour [click on link below].
She said: ‘When I at first left the car, I was so bowled over from what I saw, that for a short time, I even forgot taking photos.
‘I never saw something comparable. It was so amazing. When I walked through this fabulous landscape, I felt like Alice in Wonderland.
‘Millions of busy bees were buzzing around me. It was like swimming in a yellow sea of flowers.
‘The weather wasn’t good for taking photographs because it was quite hazy. To take the images we had to climb up a tall hill.’
Oil from rapeseed is commonly sold as the main ingredient in vegetable oil and used both in the home and in food production. Demand for the crop is growing mainly because it is seen as a healthy home-grown alternative to imported olive oil. Rapeseed oil contains less saturated fat and has far more omega 3 fatty acids than olive oil. It also contains vitamin E.
The oil’s versatility means that it can also be used in the production of biodiesel, which is favored by climate change campaigners as an alternative to crude oil. The best spot from which to view the rapeseeds flower is widely regarded to be Jinjifeng (Golden Chicken Peak).
The landscape is the area is almost completely flat, broken up by just splattering of small mounds like green crumbs on the golden yellow carpet. The flatness allows the gentle breeze to move the flowers in sways.
Farms flank the country road that winds up and down the slopes where small villages and hamlets can be found every few miles.
From the hilltops farms high mountains can be seen in the distance at the province of Guizhou. In NiuJie, a few miles to the north of Luoping, the scene takes a different form. Here the flowers are grown in circular rings following the contours of the slopes similar to rice terraces.
Trade magazine The Grocer reported that the impact of the frosts on the Continent earlier this year had led some observers to predict European yields would plummet to a five-year low.
This gave UK farmers an opportunity to reap the rewards of increasing rapeseed plantings for the third year in a row with acreage estimated to be up by as much as 7% on last year.
Source: Daily Mail UK Oct 2012