Across China: Greenhouses take root in desert land

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-03 08:12:04|Editor: Liangyu
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URUMQI, July 3 (Xinhua) -- For Lyu Guoyin, farming is an obsession that he carries wherever he goes, and his latest venture is out in the sandy land off China's largest desert.

Lyu, from central China's Henan Province, arrived in Hotan in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region for the first time in 2017, where he planted 50,000 apple trees.

Now Lyu manages more than 20 greenhouses at Yuye Village off the southern edge of the Taklimakan Desert, riding along with a wave of farming technology expansion that has brought fortune to locals.

Hotan, which is located at the edge of the desert, has a relatively large population and a lack of arable lands. "Due to the bad natural environment, we promote greenhouse farming, which can bring higher value," said Qin Zhenhua, Party head of the Yuye village.

The village now has 420 greenhouses and 93 orchards, which are open for tourists to visit and pick fruits. Last year, the annual average income of the villagers reached more than 7,500 yuan (1,092 U.S. dollars), which is expected to rise by another 10 percent this year.

Ren Jinqi, a villager, rakes in around 30,000 yuan (4397 U.S. dollars) to 40,000 yuan each year by exploring cultivation methods that increased the usage rate of the greenhouses.

Skills and technology like this have been important for the villagers to increase income, said Qin.

"I want to create a team of 'Scientific Guardians' for the village, with both experts and farmers on board," he said.

One of the difficulties of farming in the sandy area is sandstorms and heat. Seedlings are extremely vulnerable to such an environment.

In 2018, the village teamed up with the local sandstorm control branch of Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography under the Chinese Academy of Sciences to develop solutions for controlling sandstorms and introduce new varieties of seedlings more resistant to the harsh conditions.

"People have been battling against the desert and poverty here for a long time," said Zeng Fanjiang, head of the branch. "We want to explore a sustainable path for development here, one that can be promoted elsewhere."