Modern agricultural parks boost farmer's incomes in Guangdong
Starting last year, Guangdong Province began developing high-quality modern agricultural parks.
One of the pilot sites, which is located in Huizhou City, is a center for the production of premium quality rice and aquaculture products. The pilot sites have helped to raise the income of local farmers, and boost the productivity of their farms.
Li Weiting is one of the farmers in Huizhou who has partnered with Haina Agriculture Company to raise fish in his rice paddy fields in-between cropping seasons. He's currently raising around 300,000 fish on 40 hectares of land.
Li said the company provides the money to cover the cost of raising the fish, and they give him a base payment of 5,000 yuan a month. On top of that, the company gives him a 20% share of their profit from selling the fish.
Before he partnered with Haina Agriculture, he used to work the land by himself. It was hard work, with low pay. But now he has a guaranteed income and he was able to buy a car for his family.
Li said that the success of the business stems from the company's modern management techniques.
"I prefer this management model, because the land is always looked after. When the rice has been harvested, we pump water into the fields to raise the fish. After the autumn harvest, we can still raise fish in the winter."
Paddy fields ready be harvested at the Haina Agriculture Base. [Photo: China Plus]
This model of farm management, which combines planting and aquaculture, not only has an economic benefit; it also improves the environmental sustainability of the farms.
As well as rice and fish, ducks, frogs, and turtles are some of the other animals that can be raised in this kind of aquaculture farm. The leftovers from the rice crop provide an abundant natural source of food for the animals, along with a good habitat. And the animals help to clear weeds and pests from paddy fields, and their waste fertilizes the soil for the next crop of rice.
As well as paddy farming, the farm also grows guava, and under the guava trees live flocks of ducks and geese.
Ducks and geese under guava trees at the Haina Agriculture Base. [Photo: China Plus]
Zhong Zhenfang is the chairman of Haina Agriculture. He said this new model of farming brings in double the income of traditional single-crop farming.
"Paddy fields used to be high-yielding, but now we generally control it to with 350 kilograms. The purchase price of paddy rice is now 6 yuan per kilogram. If we have two harvests a year, then the output is 700 kilograms. That's our income from rice. It is actually more profitable to raise fish. You can raise 100 kilograms of yellow croaker three times a year in a 667-square-meter field. Now, the market purchase price is no less than 40 yuan per kilogram. We also grow fruit in the paddy fields. So, in total, we can earn 10,000 yuan."
After spending many years working with many domestic agricultural research institutes, Haina Agriculture set up its own research institutes in 2017.
Fruits produced at the Haina Agricultural Base. [Photo: China Plus]
Lu Huazhong is the president of the Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences. He's also the leading member of their research team.
"A modern agricultural industrial park pays attention to the integration of primary, secondary, and tertiary industries. The primary industry is planting, which is based on organic rice production and an efficient production model. This technology was mastered by Haina Agriculture with our help. The secondary industry is processing. In addition to rice processing, there are other by-products, which we helped them to develop. As for the tertiary industries, they combine agriculture with tourism, turning rice fields into parks."
Haina Agriculture began incorporating tourism into its business model in November 2017. So far, more than 300,000 tourists have visited their fields.
Guangdong Province plans to launch 150 modern agricultural parks in three years, with the goal of raising the quality of the local agriculture industry. 100 sites have already been chosen.