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Weifang finds ways for utilizing saline-alkali land

WEIFANG, China--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Weifang, a coastal city in East China’s Shandong province, has 150,666.67 hectares of saline-alkali land, accounting for nearly a quarter of the province.

In recent years, the city has made great efforts to comprehensively utilize salt-affected soil by employing methods ranging from managing the soil to make it suitable for crops, to breeding salt-tolerant crop varieties.

Located about 20 kilometers from the Bohai Sea coastline, the Yuwang Wetland in the northern part of Hanting district was once a large, barren area with more than 12,000 hectares of salty soil in which crops could not survive.

Since 2019, Shandong Binyuan Agricultural Science and Technology Co, which operates the seawater rice area in Hanting district, has been working with a team formed by the late Yuan Longping, the nation's top agricultural scientist who was known as the "father of hybrid rice", to improve the salt-affected soil and cultivate salt-tolerant rice varieties for four years.

After three years' work to manage the salt-affected soil and cultivate salt-tolerant seeds, the once-barren land has been transformed into a productive area for seawater rice, demonstrating efficient use of salt-affected soil.

The company planted 1,673 hectares of rice on salt-affected soil at the wetland in 2020, with the average production of rice per mu (0.07 hectares) reaching 691 kilograms, double the yield in 2019.

Two pipes were laid underground for irrigation and to help leach out the salt in the area. Aided by data from smart sensors and cameras, the artificial intelligence agricultural system provides the correct quantity of water for the soil.

Compared with farmers traditionally irrigating their fields by using large amounts of fresh water, the new methods can save up to 30 percent of water.

The report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China stressed the need to “fully and faithfully apply the new development philosophy on all fronts, focus on promoting high-quality development, and work to create a new pattern of development”.

Weifang government plans to continue to promote sci-tech innovation, boost salt-tolerant ecological agriculture, develop new varieties of salt-tolerant plants, and serve the city’s overall ecological restoration and food security.

Contacts

Weifang Municipal Publicity Department

Anita Liu

[email protected]

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