(this piece is first published by Takung Newspaper)
Located in the southwestern region of China, Dehong Prefecture is bestowed with a typical sub-tropical zone climate with warm winter and cool summer. Long frost-free season and favorable natural conditions of light, heat, water and air make this place a optimal field for crops to grow in winter. Vegetables and fruits harvest in winter here can be seen in a wide range of species, not to mention those in warm seasons. Winter sweet corn, winter potato and winter tobacco leaves are just a few types among the nationally famous winter crops.
Days ago, the provincial agricultural development spot conference was held in Dehong and proposals for the cooperation between Dehong and other regions in Yunnan such as Xishuang Banna Prefecture and Yuanjiang County were made to establish a major planting base for winter grain as well as cash crops in China. Dehong’s winter agriculture is ready to take off to a higher level.
(officials visits production bases in Dehong)
Toward a National Level Winter Farm Base
Winter agriculture development has always been a kernel in the entire plateau characteristic industry in Yunnan. Li Lei, the party secretary of Dehong, pointed out at the prefectural 2nd (extensive) plenary meeting of the 6th party committee that Dehong should strive to further its winter agriculture industry and forge a national sub-tropical agriculture demonstration zone, a national sugar production base and a winter vegetable planting base.
Under its superior national conditions, Dehong picked eight crops and fruits, which were sweet corn, potato, tobacco, rape, lettuce, wheat, soybean and watermelon, as its key species for winter agriculture development at the early stage. At the same time, order-oriented production and mechanized production affiliated the expansion, regionalization, industrialization and quality improvement.
After a decade, Dehong has accomplished producing center for winter tobacco, potato and sweet corn which together cover a considerable area. Currently, the planting area of aromatic tobacco leaves tops the nation’s other regions; the annual yield of winter potato amounts to 200,000 tons, accounting for around one-tenth of the provincial overall output and being a pillar for raising the foreign-exchange earnings through agricultural export ; sweet corn producing base is among one of the major growing areas in the province, which provides corn product to Kunming and western part of Yunnan province.
To foster the market for Dehong’s winter agriculture, the prefecture collaborate with wholesalers and merchants from other regions by setting up rural cooperatives in major potato or sweet corn planting villages and conducting the business in a order-oriented manner. In the cold days, it becomes a pleasure for vegetable merchants from northern provinces to replenish their winter stock of vegetables while enjoy the beautiful sunshine in Dehong
In 2012, the total areas developed for winter agriculture reached 1.1365 million mu (75766.7 hectares), a year-on-year increase of 3% which equals 37,100 mu (2473.3 hectares). Order-oriented production covers 458,600 mu, increased by 13.7% (56,000mu) compared with the same period of last year. The agricultural output value is raises by 32% and reaches 1,171 billion RMB, which exceeds last year’s figure by 286,000,000 RMB. Winter agriculture becomes an indispensible force in promoting Dehong’s agriculture industry.
Demonstration Base as Driving Force
The agriculture development spot conference held a few days ago gathered agricultural expertise and management elites of Yunnan province in Mangshi. They visited modernized tobacco planting demonstration base in Namu, winter corn planting base in Mangsai, potato planting base in Xuangang. The intensive and mechanized agriculture impressed all the participants deeply.
Namu is the largest Dai-inhabited village in Dehong and is famous for abounding in watermelon. Up till now, the village has became the natural village with the largest tobacco-planting area in the nation and the total area of modern tobacco field has achieved 4,609.5 mu with per unit yield over 150 kilograms. The whole production chain has been fully modernized. In total, the winter agriculture demonstration plot covers 77,000 mu by accumulative calculation. Winter agriculture brings new impetus for the prefectural agricultural growth. As a manager of one crop-processing company concluded, the driving force of demonstration base directly affects the future of agricultural businesses due to the large scale and huge value of agriculture industry.
Taking the above-mentioned conditions into consideration, it is obvious that winter agriculture plays a role conducive to raise the rural income. In 2012, farmers participated in winter agriculture development reaches 779,800 from 179,500 households. The per capita income in development zone sees a rise of 23%, which stands for a 281 RMB increase to 1502 RMB. As predicted, the average rural income in winter agriculture development zone will surpass 1700 RMB by 2013.
At present, Dehong is pushing forward the construction of new vegetable planting base besides the existing major bases, which will lead to a 500,000 mu vegetable cultivation center by 2015 with a overall yield of 500,000 tons and a output value of 2.5 billion RMB. By then, Dehong will boast another key supply center of vegetables from southern regions to meet the demand of northern provinces in China.