Life looks up for villagers in Xinjiang

By Wu Yanbo in Hami, Xinjiang | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-03 07:19
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Bosten Lake in Xinjiang is one of the largest inland freshwater lakes in China. JIN HAOYUAN/XINHUA

Costs reduced

Located 160 km north of the East Tianshan Mountains, Naomao Lake town in Yiwu county, Xinjiang, nestles deep in the vast Gobi Desert, sharing borders with Mongolia to the north and east.

The area has abundant sunlight, a dry climate, and a vast difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures. It is known for a forest that covers some 31,333 hectares and for the production of high-quality Hami melons, which are recognized domestically and internationally.

The late-maturing Hami melon cultivation area covers about 2,667 hectares, yielding fruit of exceptional shape, color, texture and high commercial value.

Wei Bin, 34, a villager with nearly 20 hectares of melon fields, said: "We use sheep manure as organic fertilizer in our fields, and the soil's high nutrition levels result in exceptional Hami melons. We earn an average income of about 4,000 yuan from every 0.066 of a hectare, and this year's crop of melons has already been ordered by merchants from various areas."

By promoting the use of membrane drip irrigation systems and using irrigation methods controlled by a smartphone app, overall water costs have been reduced by 30 percent. In addition, increasing the frequency of irrigation while reducing the amount of water used for this purpose has improved the crispness and color of the melons.

Zhang Mingsheng, a member of the Naomao Lake Town Party Committee, said, "Naomao Lake-branded Hami melons are exported to countries such as Vietnam through e-commerce channels.

"The melon industry in Hami will develop melon wine and freeze-dried products, improve the industry's market-oriented management, stabilize prices, and increase melon farmers' incomes."

The Hami melon cultivation base, which completed the transition to membrane drip irrigation in 2001, has saved 175 million cubic meters of water over 22 years, equivalent to the total water volume of Tianchi in the Tianshan Mountains. This initiative not only ensures the groundwater level remains stable, but also provides vital support for development of the coal and chemical industries in Yiwu.

In the first half of this year, Yiwu county's GDP reached 11.52 billion yuan, a year-on-year rise of 31 percent.

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