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Shouguang, with one million greenhouses, is the Chinese 'Almeria'

Thirty years ago, Almeria was just like Shouguang, with its plastic-protected craze and intensive agriculture growing by 150% annually. Nowadays, with one million greenhouses of around one thousand square metres, Shouguang is also taking its first steps in the use of integrated biologic control.

Koppert, a Dutch multinational firmly established in Almeria and specialised in organic control, has opened new headquarters in Beijing and distribution centres in the province of Shandong, to which Shouguang, the 'Chinese Almeria', belongs.

Cristóbal Fábrega, a Koppert technician from Almeria, travels to this city, of around a million inhabitants, every fifteen days to talk with local producers about the new products designed to improve the food safety conditions of the vegetables produced by the Asian giant.

A little over a year ago, this great agricultural area chose the University of Almeria for the signing of a partnership and knowledge exchange agreement, which facilitated the arrival of agricultural researchers who have learned the methods that brought Almeria to the forefront in the field of intensive agricultural research.

Koppert technicians from China are also visiting Almeria this week to see what is being done in Almeria in terms of research. According to Xueshi Zhang, "Almeria has a very advanced technology and we believe that it is an area in constant development from which we are learning a lot. There is plenty of motivation in Almeria to improve food safety conditions."

Ho lel, a Korean citizen living in China and also employed by Koppert, affirms that "Almeria has shown to have a great technological level and plenty of motivation to advance further. We are very impressed, although Korea has been more inspired by the Dutch hydroponic model." Fábrega, Head of Koppert in this part of Asia, explains that "small family plantations, with a very strong social component, are still kept in Shouguang, and now cooperatives are starting to appear with investors signing contracts with growers, who are earning commissions from the crops."

Fábrega added that "there is still not a lot of technology transfer between them; what one grower finds out through experimentation, is not shared with others."

Koppert commercialises, above all, mini bumblebee hives for the pollination of tomatoes, as it was done in Almeria in 1994.

Almeria's technician points out that "they are still very dependent on chemicals, but are motivated to progress. A few years ago, a piece of news from a local newspaper stated that not even the growers themselves consumed what they produced, but things are changing very rapidly."

For now, this large agricultural emporium is not looking to export; almost 100% of the production is for local consumption.

Source: Lavozdealmeria
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