Sino-Is­raeli co­op­er­a­tion as­sists lo­cal agri­cul­ture

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Holiday - By HOU LIQIANG houliqiang@chi­

Sino-Is­raeli agri­cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion in China’s Ningxia Hui au­ton­o­mous re­gion has not only boosted lo­cal agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment but also made the re­gion a base for the ex­change of knowhow do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, of­fi­cials said.

The two coun­tries’ Ningxia co­op­er­a­tion dates back to 2014, when heads of their top agri­cul­tural au­thor­i­ties in­cluded it into a Sino-Is­raeli agri­cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion me­moran­dum, said Zhu Xue­feng, di­rec­tor of the in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tive project man­age­ment with the Ningxia agri­cul­tural and pas­toral au­thor­ity.

He said the co­op­er­a­tion has yielded good re­sults with the es­tab­lish­ment of a mod­ern agri­cul­ture demon­stra­tion cen­ter in the Ningxia cap­i­tal of Yinchuan in 2016. One of the world’s lead­ing ir­ri­ga­tion so­lu­tions sup­pli­ers from Is­rael has set up a fac­tory in the city.

Ex­perts from the two coun­tries have ini­ti­ated an ex­per­i­men­tal project that cov­ers about 16 hectares to demon­strate Is­raeli drip ir­ri­ga­tion equip­ment and tech­nolo­gies in the cen­ter, in­clud­ing in­te­gral con­trol of wa­ter, fer­til­iza­tion and full mech­a­niza­tion.

“The main pur­pose of the cen­ter is to ad­dress the short­age of ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter, low wa­ter-use ef­fi­ciency and the ex­ces­sive but in­ef­fi­cient use of fer­til­izer in plant­ing corn, al­falfa and veg­eta­bles in Ningxia,” said Zhu, adding it also will of­fer ex­pe­ri­ences and tech­ni­cal sup­port for pro­mo­tion of the “in­te­gral con­trol” tech­nol­ogy in the re­gion.

Zhu said his depart­ment plans to copy the model of the cen­ter in key farm­ing ar­eas for ma­jor crops in the re­gion to demon­strate the “in­te­gral con­trol” tech­nol­ogy. It plans to ex­tend the ad­vanced Is­raeli tech­nolo­gies and equip­ment to other re­gions in North­west China, where wa­ter short­age is as wide­spread a prob­lem as it is in Ningxia.

He also said Netafim, a global leader in ir­ri­ga­tion so­lu­tions for a sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture from Is­rael, has in­vested 21 mil­lion yuan ($3.1 mil­lion) to build a fac­tory pro­duc­ing drip ir­ri­ga­tion pipes in Yinchuan in 2016.

The fac­tory boasts two ad­vanced pro­duc­tion lines from Is­rael and has of­fered so­lu­tions to some “in­te­gral con­trol” projects and also to some farm­ers in Ningxia.

Xie Cuibai, chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer of Netafim China, said Ningxia is a typ­i­cal wa­ter deficient re­gion with nat­u­ral con­di­tions and cli­mate sim­i­lar to Is­rael. With a fac­tory in Ningxia, the com­pany could cover other re­gions in cen­tral and west­ern China that are also plagued by wa­ter short­ages with its tech­ni­cal train­ing and sup­port in wa­ter-sav­ing ir­ri­ga­tion.

He said the great sup­port from the Ningxia govern­ment has prompted the fac­tory’s es­tab­lish­ment. The Ningxia govern­ment has been will­ing to build the re­gion into a model for mod­ern agri­cul­ture and its lead­ers vis­ited the com­pany’s head­quar­ters years ago to seek co­op­er­a­tion.

The mar­ket po­ten­tial for drip ir­ri­ga­tion in Ningxia is vast. With great ef­fort of the govern­ment in pro­mot­ing wa­ter-sav­ing agri­cul­ture, the re­gion could step for­ward even fur­ther in its drip ir­ri­ga­tion tech­nol­ogy with more ac­cu­rate and in­tel­li­gent con­trol sys­tems for in­te­gral con­trol of wa­ter and fer­til­iza­tion.

Chen Hong­cang, an ex­ec­u­tive with Ningxia State Farm, said Is­rael dis­patched two batches of ex­perts, each with at least three peo­ple, to the agri­cul­ture demon­stra­tion cen­ter, lo­cated in one of the com­pany’s farms, to con­trib­ute their ex­per­tise in 2016 and 2017.

While hold­ing reg­u­lar train­ing for lo­cal farm­ers, the cen­ter has also re­ceived about 100 for­eign vis­i­tors ev­ery year who come for train­ing from other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, he said.

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