China: "Southern fruits are grown in the north"

Kiwifruit, originating from southern China, has been cultivated for many years in Shandong, which is in Northern China. Dragon fruit, which originated even further south than the kiwi fruit, has been growing in Shandong too. 

As the Mid-Autumn Festival was approaching, many people came to local parks in Shandong Province for the view and fruits. These people were attracted by the region because these crops are something different entirely from what they know and are used to. Shao Guangcai, one of the locals, explains that it is harvesting season from May to around the Spring Festival. There are many tourists around that time, and, Shao adds, "it is important for that we ensure that there will be fruits to pick when the visitors arrive."

Of course, one of the main attractions are the fruits which are normally grown much further south. Shao says that they always try to pick rare varieties: "Ordinary crops do not attract tourism. What is especially important for us is that the fruit is ripe at a different date than most other fruits are so that that coincides with the busy tourism dates."

Gao Wensheng, a researcher at the Agricultural Technology Extension Center of Shandong Province, said that, in recent years, Shandong's concept of 'southern fruit plants in the north' has developed rapidly, with more crops, such as pitaya, being planted, and the cultivation techniques becoming more mature. 

There are various smart solar greenhouses in the region. They help with growing the fruits that originate in a different climate, as they are full of sensors to monitor leaf temperature and humidity, fruit diameter, stem growth, as well as sensors that measure soil temperature and moisture and air temperature and humidity.

Crop diseases and insect pests have always been a problem - it is probably fair to say that applies to growers all around the world. Luckily, the greenhouses also have a system that creates predictive models for diseases and pests so growers can anticipate and act early in the growing process. 

In addition to the solar greenhouses, there is also a glass greenhouse of 30.000 m2. Because of all the technology in the greenhouse, only 10 people are required to see to the more routine tasks such as pruning and weeding.

At present, with the help of smart agriculture, the region has successfully grown Java apples, lychees, papaya, lemon, and other southern fruits on a large scale. 

Read the complete article (in Chinese) at

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