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State power supplier ramps up output for local specialty businesses

By LI JIAYING and LIU ZIZHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-11 09:29
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Technicians of State Grid Anyang Power Supply Co conduct onsite safety checks at a greenhouse in Anyang, Henan province, in January. [Photo provided to China daily]

Shandong province's Laiwu has pulled out all stops to boost its burgeoning mugwort industry in the harvest season during the Dragon Boat Festival period.

The festival, one of China's four major traditional holidays and part of UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, features customs such as eating zongzi and hanging mugwort.

While zongzi is a traditional Chinese dish made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves, mugwort harvested during this period is highly valued for its medicinal properties, including hemostatic, anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic and anti-allergic effects.

The leaves and stems of mugwort are also believed to contain volatile aromatic oils that repel insects and purify the air. Additionally, dried and crushed mugwort leaves produce "moxa", which is used in traditional Chinese moxibustion to warm the meridians, expel dampness and cold and support overall health.

Qishan Aixiang rural complex, a Laiwu-based hub for mugwort production, processing and sales, is poised for a bumper season with over 8,000 mu (533.3 hectares) dedicated to its cultivation.

The base produces more than 100 kinds of refined mugwort products, including patches, tea and moxa items, generating an annual output of over 10 million yuan ($1.38 million), creating over 400 jobs for surrounding villages and increasing farmer households' annual incomes by more than 10,000 yuan, said the company.

"The current peak production season for mugwort has a lot to do with stable power supplies. The local power supplier has proactively checked our electrical equipment and guided us in adjusting our power usage plan according to our production schedule and load, helping save over 1,000 yuan in electricity costs each month," said Liu Weihao, general manager of the rural complex.

Given that mugwort processing is heavily influenced by seasonal factors, Laiwu has tailored electricity plans to accommodate the fluctuating power needs of enterprises. By optimizing power usage strategies based on production capacity, the company has helped reduce electricity costs while ensuring reliable power supply for production.

"To ensure reliable power supply for the development of the local mugwort industry, we completed the rural network upgrade for two stations in two villages last year, extending over 800 meters of low-voltage lines to meet the irrigation and production needs of the mugwort planting base," said Xu Shulong, an executive with State Grid Laiwu Power Supply Co.

Laiwu is not alone in witnessing a local specialty industry boom amid early summer. At a greenhouse in Mashang township of Anyang, Central China's Henan province, farmers are busy utilizing smart equipment to irrigate and water sweet melon plantations, and look forward to embracing a bountiful harvest.

Over the past few years, such smart greenhouses have been widely built across the town, which has not only accelerated the development of local specialty agriculture, but also significantly contributed to farmers' livelihoods.

Bai Wenying, a local sweet melon grower, said the smart equipment — such as the integrated water and fertilizer equipment, and the automatic vent openers — improves both the quality and yield of the fruit, and makes their products more popular in the market.

Bai said currently more than 2,667 hectares of greenhouses in Mashang are utilized to grow sweet melon plants, which are expected to produce 240,000 metric tons of fruit and generate more than 500 million yuan in revenue per year.

With plenty of smart greenhouses in place, demand for electricity has surged in the town. Thanks to the local power supplier, farmers have no worries on the power front.

Cooperating with the local government, State Grid's Anyang Power Supply Co said it has actively improved customer service based on the development plan of Mashang's sweet melon planting industry.

The company said it regularly sends staff members to visit local greenhouses to collect feedback from farmers, inspect electrical devices, and eliminate safety hazards promptly.

In addition, efforts will be intensified to upgrade and transform the local power grid, thus helping foster more specialty industries in Mashang, the company added.

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