CN: Growers reap fortune from smart farming on barren land

In the heart of the Loess Plateau in northwest China's Gansu Province, more than 200 greenhouses of various sizes dot the barren land covered with sand and gravel. Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, leafy greens and flowers grow inside the greenhouses in rows.

The greenhouses are part of a sprawling hydroponic farming base in Gansu's Lanzhou New Area, a national-level development zone in Lanzhou, the provincial capital. The base, which opened in 2018, is spread over more than 600 hectares. It is transforming the arid area into a major crop production hub with the help of advanced farming technologies.

"Despite severe water shortage, growing crops on the Loess Plateau has its advantages such as abundant sunlight and a significant temperature difference between day and night," said Hou Qilei, head of the production department of the agri-tech company that runs the base.

To make the most of these advantages, the base has deployed a number of innovative technologies and facilities, including cultivation without soil, automated temperature and humidity control, and integrated water and fertilization control, Hou said.

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