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Farmers harness digital technology to improve agricultural productivity

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-06-07 17:02
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GUIYANG -- In the greenhouse of a strawberry garden in Anshun city, Southwest China's Guizhou province, a screen displays real-time indoor data on the temperature, humidity, lighting and various other factors.

At the garden run by Zhongxin Strawberry Industry Development Co Ltd, using big data technology to obtain information in real-time on the strawberry growing environment is an important means of increasing production.

The strawberry garden spans over 53 hectares and is able to use the big data system to adapt to temperature changes in real-time. For example, if the temperature exceeds 25 C, the system will automatically open the greenhouse windows for ventilation and cooling. Should the temperature drop below 15 C, the system will automatically start the heating system.

"Data analysis can determine which humidity, temperature, and light conditions would help achieve the best yield of strawberries," said Jiang Jinquan, an executive of the company.

According to Jiang, local strawberries originally could only be harvested four times a year. However, after the implementation of refined and controlled growing conditions, the strawberry garden can now achieve a total of seven harvests annually. In addition, the single strawberry weight has also been increased.

Outside the greenhouse, the big data system also collects and analyzes wind speed, rainfall, temperature, and other data to forecast the local weather, helping growers to take measures in advance to reduce losses caused by natural disasters.

"The system can send warnings ahead of rainstorms so that we can close the greenhouses and take reinforcement measures to minimize the damage," said Jiang.

With the advantages brought about by the development of big data, Guizhou is accelerating the application of digitalization in various aspects of agricultural production, processing and circulation, promoting the reshaping of supply chains, extending industrial chains and upgrading value chains.

In an edible mushroom industry demonstration park in Baiyun district of Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou, dozens of smart mushroom growing rooms are neatly arranged, and technicians can remotely control humidity, temperature, carbon dioxide levels and light in the rooms with a mobile phone.

The application of big data technology not only shortens the growing cycle of mushrooms but also reduces labor costs by 40 percent.

The use of big data technology in Guizhou has gradually changed the traditional mode of agriculture, which relied solely on farmers' experience and weather conditions, and this change is providing local farm produce with a competitive edge in the market, said an official with the provincial agricultural bureau.

In recent years, the "digital revolution" has been injecting new vitality into rural revitalization, building China's strength in agriculture and propelling modernization in rural areas, said a report released by the Cyberspace Administration of China and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in February.

Efforts will be made to roll out and fine-tune supporting policies, regulations, management systems, and market mechanisms to support digitalization in rural areas, said Han Xu, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, at a sideline forum of the China International Big Data Industry Expo 2023 held recently in Guizhou.

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