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Village relies on farm tech to bring in fortune

China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-18 09:27

Wherever Lyu Guoyin goes, farming is an obsession that he carries along.

In his latest venture, Lyu is out in the sandy land next to China's largest desert. Lyu, from Henan province, arrived in Hotan, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, for the first time in 2017, where he planted 50,000 apple trees.

He now manages more than 20 greenhouses in Yuye village, off the southern edge of the Taklimakan Desert, riding on a wave of farming technology expansion that has brought wealth to the locals.

Hotan, which is located at the edge of the desert, has a relatively large population and a lack of arable land.

Qin Zhenhua, Party head of Yuye village, said the government encourages locals to use farming technology. "Due to the bad natural environment, we promote greenhouse farming, which can bring in higher value," Qin said.

The village now has 420 greenhouses and 93 orchards, which are open to tourists to visit and pick fruit. Last year, the annual average income of the villagers was more than 7,500 yuan ($1,090), which is expected to increase by 10 percent this year.

Ren Jinqi, a villager, rakes in around 30,000 to 40,000 yuan each year by exploring cultivation methods that increase the use of greenhouses.

Qin said skills and technology like this have been important for the villagers to increase their incomes. "I want to create a team of 'scientific guardians' for the village, with both experts and farmers on board," he said.

Some difficulties of farming in the sandy area are sandstorms and heat, as seedlings are extremely vulnerable to such an environment.

Last year, the village teamed up with the local sandstorm control branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography to develop solutions for controlling sandstorms and introduce new seedling varieties more resistant to the harsh conditions.

"People have been battling against the desert and poverty here for a long time," said Zeng Fanjiang, head of the control branch. "We want to explore a sustainable path for development here, and one that can be promoted elsewhere."


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