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Company proposes to grow rice in the desert in Xinjiang

By Jiang Jie (People's Daily Online)    16:22, June 30, 2016
Company proposes to grow rice in the desert in Xinjiang
(The test field of rice on the desert. Photo: Courtesy of Gao Hongjiang)

A Chinese company has proposed to grow rice on desert in the thirsty desert lands of northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

According to the company’s feasibility study report, the proposal set an eye on growing over 660 million square meters of rice using a total investment of some 1 billion yuan by 2021 in the Shanshan county of Turpan city, which is famous for its Huoyan Mountain, literally translated as flaming mountain.

Gao Hongjiang, the Shanshan-based company’s president, told People’s Daily Online on Thursday that the company began to grow some 1,333 square meters worth of test fields in 2015 with “good results.” The test field has expanded to some 133,333 square meters this year.

“Many people think of rice-growing as water-wasting, but the water consumption can be halved using a technology in which plants are grown on plastic sheeting,” Gao explained.

The Farmers Daily also called rice growing on plastic sheeting using a new method to exploit natural resources in May 2015, adding that it has solved the problem of sand damage and can prevent loss of water and fertilizer.

Gao said the project would be the first of its kind in Shanshan county, while over 330,000 square meters of farmland has been established in Turpan city.

“As a county sitting on a large area of the desert, it is unlikely to see major progress in agricultural and livestock farming development, unless it can use sand as farmland,” said the feasibility study report, referring to the Kumtag Desert occupying some 10 percent of the Shanshan county.

“All deserts are free of any kind of contamination and pollution, offering a guarantee of the rice’s safety,” the report noted, adding that the project development can help guarantee stable income and life for local residents.

Gao claimed that his company’s project has gained support from local authorities, who also check-in on their test field every week. The company allegedly received 200,000 yuan from the local government in May.

(The test field of rice on the desert. Photo: Courtesy of Gao Hongjiang)
(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Jiang Jie,Bianji)

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