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Beijing boosts agricultural development

Updated: Feb 9,2017 8:54 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Beijing continues to strengthen agricultural research and innovation as the country calls for deepening structural reform in the agricultural sector.

An agricultural innovation lab, jointly established by Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province in December, will offer technological solutions on food safety, farming environment and pest control.

“The capital has over 100 agricultural research centers, which have set up innovation alliances with domestic and foreign companies in Beijing, for better integration between innovation and industry,” said the municipal agricultural commission.

According to the “No. 1 central document,” the first policy statement from the central authorities in the year, released on Feb 5, traditionally devoted to agriculture, a group of innovation centers and alliances will be created, and excellent research will be enhanced for better farm produce.

The document said that there must be no increase in use of pesticides and fertilizers in pursuit of safer, more sustainable, high quality products. Less water use will also be promoted.

A team led by Zhang Fan at the Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, has been improving a method to reduce use of pesticides and fertilizers by releasing natural enemies of insects.

The academy has also cultivated a high-yield wheat.

“The variety can improve yields by 15 percent and save water by 30 to 50 percent compared with normal ones,” said Zhang Fengting, a researcher at the academy.

The new variety adapts to various climate and soil conditions, and has been promoted in other areas such as Hebei, Tianjin, Shanxi, Shandong and even Pakistan.

Beijing is also building a “smart agriculture” network, which includes a multi-media database of 10,000 courses for farmers, covering livestock breeding, product processing and aquaculture.

An agricultural monitoring system in the capital will give farmers information on irrigating and fertilizing crops, soil conditions, and online consulting.

Znbmall, an e-commerce platform built in 2015, has attracted over 150 enterprises and now sells more than 400 kinds of high-quality farm produce.

“We sell them online and in stores, as well as organize fairs for communities,” said Li Gang, a researcher in agricultural science with the academy. “We want to bring more green and organic food to consumers.”