Farmers add shine to apple production

Agricultural innovators help transform poor enclave into wealthy village

By ZHANG YU in Shijiazhuang | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-01-11 08:03
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Two women sell apples by livestreaming at an orchard in the village. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The 128-step method covered everything from soil preparation and planting, to pruning, organic fertilization, the thinning of flowers and fruits, management, harvesting and sales.

Farmers' adherence to the processes has paid off, with the locally grown Fugang apple becoming a renowned brand, and Gangdi transforming itself into a rich village.

Thanks to the fruitful results, villagers were encouraged to gain more agricultural knowledge and skills.

Since 2013, 169 villagers have received professional technical titles in fruit tree cultivation — five senior technicians, 117 technicians, and 47 assistant technicians — according to the county's government.

An Zengshu, a 67-year-old with more than 40 years of apple growing experience, recently obtained the professional title of technician in fruit tree planting.

"Understanding technology and knowledge is the key to growing good apples," he said. "With the title, I can grow even better fruits and teach others with more confidence."

In honor of the late professor Li, more than 60 professional farmers from Gangdi village, including An, formed a technical service team, with most holding professional titles.

They not only serve local orchards but also provide technical support in nearby areas. In offseason months, the team becomes even busier, offering technical support to orchards in other places.

"Removing excess branches allows light to penetrate, ensuring the trees are well-ventilated and the apples receive more sunlight," Yang Shuhai, an agricultural technician from Gangdi, said as he shared pruning techniques in Tianhu village in Hebei's Jingxing county.

Jingxing farmer Zhao Zhiwen has received guidance from Gangdi experts for several years.

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