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Agricultural high-tech zone shows country the future of farming
Time: 05 05,2022      Source:
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Jinzhong National Agricultural High-Tech Zone is among the first batch of national agricultural high-tech zones in China. Chen Jinhua / For China Daily


  Intelligent technology and automation harnessed to help multiply crop yields and increase efficiency in Taigu district of Jinzhong city,Shanxi

  Using advanced machines and the latest artificial intelligence,a newly established agricultural industrial zone in Shanxi is setting an example in modern farming across the province and the rest of the country.

  After its development proposal—which was put forward by the Shanxi Committee of the Communist Party of China and the provincial government—was approved by the State Council,Jinzhong National Agricultural High-Tech Zone was founded in November 2019 in the Taigu district of Jinzhong city.

  The zone,which locals call Shanxi Agricultural Valley,is among the first batch of national agricultural high-tech zones in China and the only one of its kind in the province,according to Li Chenghai,head of the zone’s administrative committee.

  The official said that Shanxi Agricultural Valley is designed as a demonstration zone for water conserving agriculture.

  “Shanxi is located in a semi-humid zone,which features less precipitation than the humid regions in China’s south and east,”Li said.“So an irrigation system with efficient and economical use of water is crucial for agricultural development in Shanxi.”

  In Shanxi Agricultural Valley,water-saving agriculture is being made possible with automated greenhouse farming and digitally controlled spraying or dripping facilities.

  The agricultural zone boasts a number of advanced greenhouses.One glass-roofed greenhouse,equipped all kinds of digital and automatic devices,is dedicated to strawberry farming.Measuring 10,000 square meters,it contained more than 50,000 pots of strawberry seedlings that were set on the ground.A close look revealed no soil in the pots.

  According to Yang Yuhao,head of the company that operates the greenhouses,this greenhouse is a demonstration base for soil-free farming.

  He explained that all the crop pots are connected to plastic pipes,which are used for irrigating and fertilizing,and a wire network for sensing crop conditions.

  “Connecting with a number of sensors,the wire network can monitoring the fluid volume at the bottom of the pot,”Yang said.He added that the fluid is a mixture of water,organic fertilizers and other ingredients to support the growth of crops.

  “Realtime data can be sent to the control center of the greenhouse via the network.Irrigating,fertilizing and other operations can be automatically made through the pipes,based on the analysis of fluid volume in the pots,”Yang said.“It takes only three to five minutes to finish irrigation of the entire greenhouse.

  The executive noted that the water conservation efficiency of the automatic irrigation system can be several times higher than conventional methods.

  Yang said that there are other connected and automatic devices for temperature,moisture and light control.“Because everything is automatic,one farmer is enough to look after this huge greenhouse,”he said.

  In addition to its performance in water conservation and work efficiency,this new type of smart farming features a much larger output.

  “In a greenhouse with automatic temperature,moisture and light control,crops can grow throughout the year,”Yang said.“The output can be at least five times higher than that of conventional greenhouses.”

  Behind the increased farming efficiency is modernization driven by Shanxi Agricultural Valley’s research,development and innovation abilities.

  The high-tech zone’s innovation system is bolstered by not only a number of public research institutions but strong corporate R&D teams.

  Juxin Weiye Agricultural Technology is one of the leading high-tech companies in the agricultural valley.

  “At the beginning of our operations in the agricultural high-tech zone,we positioned ourselves as an‘incubator company’,”said Ji Fubao,board chairman of Juxin Weiye.“This means we are a technological solutions provider to aid the zone’s growth.

  Ji said what makes the company a“technological driver”of the zone is its R&D team composed of highprofile scientists and researchers.

  Shang Yongjin,head of the R&D team,for instance,is a scholar returning from Australia.As an expert in crop virus elimination research,Shang founded Shanxi’s first virus-free crop breeding center in the agricultural high-tech zone.

  According to Ji,crop growth can be often affected by viruses.“So virus elimination is crucial to increasing output and improving quality of crops,”he said.

  Shang’s team has cultivated more than 60 virus-free crop varieties with patented molecular biological technologies over the past few years.

  “As a result,we have played our unique role in boosting Shanxi Agricultural Valley’s development by offering high-quality,high-output and virus-free crop seedlings to local farmers,”Ji said.

  Xinquhe village in the township of Fancun in Taigu district is one of the beneficiaries of the new technologies being developed in the agricultural high-tech zone.

  The village now boasts vegetablefarming greenhouses covering a total area of nearly 50 hectares.

  “The use of new technologies and new crop varieties developed by companies in Shanxi Agriculture Valley has led to substantial increases in output and farmers’income,”said Xue Rongsheng,head of the village.“The average per-household income surpassed 50,000 yuan($7,635)for the first time last year,”he said.


  Wang Pei contributed to this story.

  By Yuan Shenggao

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