In every desert of calamity, there lies an oasis of comfort. This saying is true to the people of Gansu Province, the northwestern part of China.
Deep into the Gobi desert, a prominent feature stands out, the Gobi desert industrial park, that is now used as a modern agricultural demonstration zone.
According to the Chinese authorities, this is yet another major agricultural breakthrough in its rich history.
It is indeed a marvel given that the modern technologies employed on this part of the world has helped shape the agricultural productivity of a land area that was once unproductive but is now considered one of China’s main source of food.
According to Li Cheng Ping, the Communist Party of China Secretary for Zongzhai County, massive financial investments have been made over the years to develop what is now the first agricultural industrial park that demonstrates the application of soil-less culture techniques on non-arable farmlands in China.
“We have invested more than 15 million US dollars in 666 hectares of land since 2009. With the investment, essential infrastructures such as water supply system, power supply and road networks have been developed.” Mr Li said.
As at now, authorities confirm that a total of 1,032 greenhouses have been set up ever since the project began. The greenhouses are high-standard solar greenhouses, formulating a pollution-free vegetable production base of 233 hectares.
Some of the vegetables and fruits grown in the greenhouses include tomatoes, cucumber, peaches, grapes, and tomatoes.
But achieving this dream was not easy. Mr. Li says a total of seventeen (17) advanced practical technologies have been integrated to bring about the prevailing success.
Some of the techniques employed here include: Organic ecological soil-less cultivation, whole tray seedling matrix, drone pollination, fertigation, smart gathering vehicles, and intelligent greenhouse control.
The integration of these innovative techniques according to the authorities in Gansu paved way for the park to achieve “industrial seedling, mass production and marketing branding.”
“Apart from promoting the transformation of agricultural scientific transformation and technological achievements into payoffs, this park also distinguishes itself with its benefits to our economy, society and ecology.” Mr. Li said.
The park utilizes micro-spraying drip irrigation technology, which in the opinion of its developers has economized the usage of water resources to a large extent. They say water consumption by each greenhouse in the park has been reduced by 25 % (percent).
But perhaps what is considered a landmark achievement here is the fact that crop rotation is carried out scientifically. This has in turn ensured the continual production of crops all through the year.
“The annual income for each greenhouse in the park can reach at least 30,000 Yuan (Ksh.450,000). This is nearly 30% higher than average greenhouse.” Li noted.
Additionally, the technology in use guarantees high quality production of vegetables. The organic soil-less cultivation technology, mostly incorporating use of cow and goat droppings, and physical pest control technology, the greenhouse vegetables produced in the park pose no pollution to environment as they are free from soil-borne diseases.
These technological approaches according to the CPC official has helped realization of real time monitoring of temperature, humidity, and illumination in each greenhouse.
Last but not least, market to produce from this farm is not an issue as Li and his team discloses that the park takes advantage of “Internet + Agriculture” marketing model to sell their crops via online networks.
This historic innovation in agriculture is not only limited to China, as the Asian economic giant intends to share the practice with friendly countries. In the spirit of Belt and Road economic framework, the leadership of China’s Communist party says it is willing to export these ideas specifically to Africa to help fight against hunger and guarantee food security.
The party leadership says its doors are open to anyone willing to learn the new concept even as it drums up support for a mutually beneficial socie