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Local govts boosting specialty sectors

By LIU ZIZHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-28 09:37

Farmers harvest radishes at a plantation in Taizhou, Jiangsu province, on May 9. TANG DEHONG/FOR CHINA DAILY

China's local governments have put in place advanced technologies and stepped up efforts to promote specialty industries, in order to inject fresh impetus into the country's rural vitalization initiative.

At a factory of Yihao Industrial Co Ltd, workers are busy carving jade with the help of computer-controlled smart equipment.

Bai Zhen, head of the company, said Yihao Industrial is one of more than 20,000 jade jewelry manufacturers based in Zhenping county, in Central China's Henan province.

Known as "the hometown of Chinese jade carvings", Zhenping has a history of more than 4,000 years in jade processing.

"In the past, we could only carve jade by hand, but nowadays things are quite different," Bai said.

The tasks of cutting, polishing and waxing jade are all undertaken by smart equipment now, he added.

"Traditional carving techniques brought a lot of trouble to quality control, while smart equipment can not only boost our productivity, but also significantly contribute to local industrial transformation," Bai said.

He also said smart equipment had brought in a surge in demand for electricity.

As a result, the State Grid Corp of China, a State-owned electric utility firm, has actively advanced the upgrading of the local power grid in recent years, thus ensuring stable and reliable power supply.

As the scale of the jade industry continues to expand, Zhenping is home to 12 jade jewelry markets and more than 40,000 jade jewelry stores, both online and offline, offering jobs to nearly 400,000 residents.

Besides, its jade carvers are gradually turning to new fields such as materials selection, marketing, jewelry appreciation, and management, which has largely extended the local industrial chain.

Currently, the jade industry in Zhenping has reached an overall output value of 100 billion yuan ($13.8 billion) and its sales account for more than 40 percent of the national total.

Meanwhile, in Zhongwei, Ningxia Hui autonomous region, farmers are leveraging an agro-industrial park to experiment with the latest growing techniques and develop specialty agriculture.

Huang Faguo, owner of a greenhouse located in the park, said he introduced a series of new techniques last year to grow strawberries.

Huang said he utilizes advanced devices to filter the water before irrigation, which has enhanced the size and taste of strawberries. The ripening of the fruit has also been greatly advanced.

Huang said the output value of the greenhouse is expected to more than triple this year, hitting 400,000 yuan.

According to Huang, the agro-industrial park, jointly built by 11 villages in 2020 and involving a total investment of 18 million yuan, has successfully nurtured several specialty industries, from cold-tolerant vegetable growing to facility cultivation agriculture.

The State Grid has also contributed to the success of the park by regularly dispatching staff to inspect the advanced agricultural equipment and promptly address any electrical hazards.

Their moves came after China released the No 1 Central Document in February, which stressed further efforts to build a modern industrial system in rural areas by developing specialty industries and cultivating famous brands.

The document also said China will provide more support for agriculture in terms of technology. It will advance the construction of major innovation platforms and encourage more high-tech talent to work in rural areas.

Wei Houkai, director of the Rural Development Institute, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the country should foster a better environment for rural industries to thrive.

Meanwhile, rural areas should continue to build more industrial clusters based on local characteristics and promote the integration of primary, secondary and tertiary industries, said Wei.

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