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January 18, 2024  China Daily  

Xinjiang's Efforts to Comprehensively Enhance Grain Planting Technology and Productivity Leading to The Grain Harvest

Case Study; Value Chain Development for Smallholders; Agricultural Techniques; Xinjiang

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The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region once again achieved a bumper grain harvest last year, following a significant increase in production in 2022 that was mainly driven by strong financial support given to farmers to improve technology and enhance productivity.

According to data from Xinjiang's agriculture and rural affairs department, the region's grain output reached 21.19 million metric tons last year, with an increase of 3.05 million tons, accounting for 34.4 percent of the national increase.

The statistics revealed that the region's grain planting area expanded to 2.82 million hectares last year, an increase of around 390,000 hectares compared to the previous year, representing 61.4 percent of the national grain planting area increase and ranking first nationwide.

"I achieved a yield of 13.4 tons per hectare in 2023," said Yan Jun, a prominent grain farmer from the Qitai Farm in the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

His success can be attributed to Xinjiang's efforts to comprehensively enhance grain planting technology and productivity.

The regional government has allocated 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) to support high-quality farmland cultivation, irrigation and the development of new cultivated land.

Through the promotion of efficient water-saving irrigation and integrated water and fertilizer management, maize yields in the Ili Kazak autonomous prefecture have been increased by over 3 tons per hectare, while wheat yields in southern Xinjiang have also shown remarkable improvement, according to Li Jing, deputy director of the regional government's agricultural and rural department.

"Due to our outstanding solar and thermal resources, after implementing a series of advanced planting techniques, there is still great potential for substantial increases in crop production in certain regions," Li said.

Water resources have played a critical role in achieving these production gains.

In 2022, Xinjiang added 4.95 billion cubic meters of agricultural irrigation water, and an additional 1.06 billion cubic meters were added last year.

The region's agricultural authorities highlighted that Xinjiang's grain crops are known for their large, plump grains and high nutritional and processing value.

With a high degree of land intensification and scale of operations, Xinjiang possesses an advantage in the adoption of advanced agricultural planting techniques.

Currently, the comprehensive mechanization rate of agricultural production in the region exceeds 88 percent.

"I can easily earn 4,500 to 6,000 yuan per hectare after deducting land rent," said Yi Zhenggui, a contracted farmer from the Baizhenzhu Farm in Aksu prefecture.

Yi, from Chongqing, leased nearly 267 hectares of fallow paddy fields from the Aksu government after ensuring adequate irrigation water supply.

Through on-site calculations, he achieved a yield of over 7.5 tons per hectare, resulting in significant profits.

"When it comes to grain farming, the key lies in the economies of scale. If I were given only 3 to 5 mu (0.2 to 0.33 of a hectare) or even 30 to 50 mu, it wouldn't be as attractive to me," he said.

The grain and oil industry has become one of the eight key industrial clusters being developed in Xinjiang, which currently boasts a cultivated land area of just over 7 million hectares. The region plans to further increase its grain production capacity by 2025.

(Original Title: Xinjiang sees another bumper grain harvest

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Xinjiang Boosts Grain Harvest with Enhanced Planting Technology

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Xinjiang Boosts Grain Harvest with Enhanced Planting Technology

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