Digital technologies empower rural rejuvenation in Zhejiang (3)

(People's Daily Online) 09:41, April 08, 2021
Digital technologies empower rural rejuvenation in Zhejiang
A farmer drives a disc harrow to enter a vegetable greenhouse. (Photo/Chinanews.com)

Every day, several tons of cane shoots produced in a town in Taizhou, east China's Zhejiang province enter the market, each with a QR code attached to it to indicate its safety and quality records. However, in the past, this kind of digitalized function was way beyond the imagination of local growers.

"The QR code, together with a mobile application, called 'Farmers' Credibility', record the process for the growing, harvesting, packaging and selling of the cane shoots. This method makes the dealers and the consumers feel more assured of food safety, and makes us farmers delighted that our products can sell better than before because of their fine quality," said Jiang Liangzhen, head of an agricultural cooperative in Beiyang township, Huangyan district of Taizhou.

With the help of digital technologies, Huangyan became among the first places in Zhejiang province to carry out an initiative to trace the quality of agricultural products.

Jiang, who has been growing cane shoots for 13 years, has already grasped how deeply technologies have changed farming. In the past, it took a lot of time and effort to breed cane shoot seedlings. But now, under the guidance of experts, Jiang and her colleagues are trying a new method under which the time and cost of seedling cultivation are greatly reduced.

They have also introduced other technologies, such as cross-breeding, thin films to retain heat in the winter, and the use of fertilizers and nutrients to accurately control the growth and maturing time of the cane shoots.

According to the calculation method developed by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, technologies are contributing 65.15 percent to the development of agriculture in Zhejiang province.

Between 2016 and 2020, Zhejiang had implemented 158 technology-powered agricultural projects and 1,084 projects have since been finished by designated teams, having made some 20 key technological breakthroughs in total, as indicated by local statistics.

At a 20-hectare ranch in Huangyan, a piece of farmland is covered by green manure plants before being planted with crops. The plants will be turned into soil to provide organic matter and nutrients.

Li Jinbo, head of the ranch, said that the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides are prohibited here in order to maintain the health of the soil. Inspired by the farming philosophy adopted in Germany, Li began to grow organic crops and vegetables eight years ago.

"The grass from the ranch was turned into food for cows and the green manure plants became nutrients for the soil," Li said, while showcasing a few samples to introduce the independent circulation system adopted for his farmland. He explained that the ecosystem of the ranch has improved so much that more than 35 species of birds have been attracted to return to the ranch.

Since 2015, the products from Li's ranch had been certified by the country and the EU as organic food, and the ranch was granted the title of biodynamic agriculture by an institution in Australia.

In Zhejiang, digital technologies have redefined traditional agricultural production, attracting more people to engage in the industry.

In Xihe Farmland in Taizhou, which covers an area of about 40 hectares, almost all the farm work is being done by machines, with only a few people handling the machines. The environment and the growth of the crops are monitored on a real-time basis.

As a demonstration base for high-quality and green farming technologies in Zhejiang, the farmland now grows some 100 different types of vegetables throughout the year.

"By adopting methods such as intercropping and crop rotation, we've not only enriched the variety of agricultural products, but also raised the utility rate of the soil and prevented plant diseases and insects," according to Zhang Yongfeng, vice general manager of the Xihe Ecological Agriculture Development Company.

The marketing of the agricultural products has also become much easier thanks to the application of digital technologies. Many agricultural bases in Zhejiang have established their own online markets and employed digital tools such as livestreaming to bring their products closer to customers.

As the birthplace of the concept "Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets" and a giant of the digital economy in the country, Zhejiang aims to cultivate a smarter, and more healthy and more effective agricultural industry by making more technological breakthroughs, and thus striving for rural and industrial rejuvenation.


(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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