China: Jiuquan Gobi Desert joins the world of greenhouse cultivation

When looking at a desert, you would probably not immediately think of growing vegetables there. All that sand is, after all, not very fertile. Yet, in the Chinese Gobi Desert, vegetables are produced, not in the sand, but in greenhouses. At less than 1 meter above the ground, the tomato seedlings are placed in slabs of substrate, and the water and fertilizer required for growth are dripped into each tomato seedling through the pipe. 

In Suzhou District, 14 kilometers away from Jiuquan City, rows of smart multi-span greenhouses have been built, forming the Gobi Ecological Agriculture Industrial Park. In 2019, the local area has been introduced to advanced Israeli planting technologies, turning the desert into a green industry. They use Israeli water-saving technology, supporting filters, fertilizer applicators, and other integrated water and fertilizer equipment. Through accurate calculation and optimization, precise scientific irrigation and fertilization are provided for crops, greatly improving the utilization rate of water resources, solving the problem of water shortage in Jiuquan, reducing production costs, and improving the yield and quality of the crop.

Ren Hongyan, a staff member of the park, said that the hydroponic method of growing means that the greenhouses do not occupy arable land, but use desert land. Furthermore, the organic substrate greatly diminishes local agricultural waste.


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