|Yang Ping [Cnwomen.cn]|
A rural woman in southwest China's Sichuan province recently shared her experience of practicing eco-friendly rice farming, and expounded its unique advantages through years of agricultural experience.
Yang Ping, 39, has been engaged in farming in Lianshan Town in Guanghan for many years.
Her farmland has been publicized as a Sichuan Modern Grain Industry Demonstration Base. As the only one of its kind in the province, her farm has a total growing area of almost 7,000 hectares.
Lianshan has over 300 other large farming households.
According to the staff of Guanghan Women's Federation (GWF), Yang has been recognized as the most professional female farmer in terms of modern agriculture. She industrialized the whole process of grain harvesting, and led villagers to plant eco-friendly grain with her advanced technology.
Yang said she planted crops for five years before studying green technology to control pests and disease in rice. Compared to two years ago, when she first applied the technology to rice cultivation, her income has doubled.
Although Yang has only planted grains for seven years, she is familiar with the process. Her parents have been tractor drivers since the 1970s. She learned to drive a tractor when she was at high school.
After graduation, she has also engaged in agricultural machinery services in the countryside.
In 2011, Yang began to contract a strip of land in the village of Mianhua. Over the past seven years, she has contracted farmland from 400 households, totaling almost 80 hectares.
By 2014, although Yang has achieved her goals in terms of profit, she soon felt a sense of crisis. Since the labor costs were getting higher and higher, it would eventually decrease profits if she was not able to add value to the production chain.
With much puzzle, Yang formed a working group with other grain growers, fruit growers and livestock farmers in the town; and conducted a series of investigations in the wholesale markets, supermarkets as well as in the communities, starting from the surrounding areas of the village and extending to the provincial capital of Chengdu.
After one month's survey, Yang returned to the village, being much convinced that agricultural products with green characteristics are high-end products which are often purchased at a higher price, and are in high demand. She therefore concluded that the growing popularity of eco-agricultural products would be a sure trend in the future.
Yang's conception has been recognized by GWF and Deyang Women's Federation. With their support and help, she has learned about the preferential policies for ecological growing in relevant departments, including the agricultural department, plant protection station and other organizations in these two places.
Thus, she carried out ecological cultivation activities in coordination with departments concerned and has acquired relevant knowledge during the process.
In 2015, Yang first began experimenting with eco-friendly rice in a more independent 53-hectare paddy field with rice-duck symbiosis technology.
Yang explained that too many golden apple snails in the rice fields would severely damage the farmland. Duck-raising is employed as a method to control the snails, thus replacing pesticides which were previously used for the purpose. Meanwhile, ducks also helped with weeding. Besides, the raised ducks could also be sold.
In addition, Yang also applied solar lights and green control methods such as traps and the introduction of wasp species to minimize the using of pesticides.
Last year, the rice planted by Yang was sold at a price 50 per cent higher than that of traditional rice, and coupled with the income from selling ducks, the net profit generated by farmland was twice as high as before.
Because the cultivating of ecological rice has served both ends of energy-saving and increasing efficiency, which in turn brings about considerable income, more and more grain-growing households in Lianshan have begun to transform their traditional cultivation methods.
Today, over 30 large grain-growing households in Lianshan Town have applied rice-duck symbiosis technology. Yang hopes that more households can use green prevention and control technology to grow ecological agricultural products, because "only through joint efforts can we form a brand, make impacts and broaden the market so as to achieve more profits," she added.
Through constant study and years of practice, Yang concluded that the ecological environmental protection system will be a sustainable theme in the future.
When she started to plant ecological agricultural products in 2015, Yang also invested over 3 million yuan in partnership with others to build an ecological orchard, which was deliberately located next to a cattle farm, so that the waste could be collected in a biogas tank to grow fruit trees.
Nowadays, Yang's eco-orchard has planted more than dozens of varieties. In addition to the use of biogas slurry, cloth covering weeding, building fish ponds and other green farming methods, she also uses pipe drip irrigation technology.
She now plans to ecologically plant all her farmland and realize the digitization of drip irrigation in the whole orchard in the future.
(Source: Cnwomen.cn/ Translated and edited by Women of China)