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Xixian County

Technological Advancements Transform Pear Farming in Xixian County

Xixian County, June 22, 2024, The Europe Today: Every day, Zhang Qingfu opens an app on his mobile phone and gently taps it to start irrigating his extensive pear orchard, which spans over 100 mu (approximately 6.67 hectares) in Xixian County, North China’s Shanxi Province.

“With the Internet of Things devices in the pear orchard, I can view data such as soil moisture on my phone, and remotely control irrigation and fertilization in different areas of the orchard. It’s much easier than before,” said Zhang, 60, who has been growing pears for over 40 years.

Previously relying on manual irrigation, Zhang has greatly benefited from the new technologies and devices introduced in Xixian as part of the county’s efforts to enhance the pear growing industry.

Pear cultivation in Xixian boasts a history of over 2,000 years. Presently, the county has dedicated 230,000 mu of land to Yuluxiang pears, making it one of the largest Yuluxiang pear-growing bases in China. Pear farming is the primary source of income for 64 villages in the county, accounting for 80 percent of the farmers’ income.

In recent years, Xixian has focused on improving the variety, quality, and brand image of its pears, thereby boosting the rural revitalization of the county and increasing the income of its residents.

One notable development is the creation of a 500-mu smart pear orchard in cooperation with the Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences. In this orchard, each pear is assigned a unique QR code, allowing for the monitoring of the entire growth process, from flowering to fruit development, including tracking watering schedules and detecting any cases of infestation.

“The QR code serves as an ID card, recording the growing process of a pear,” explained Wang Yibo, who works at the county’s fruit industry center.

Additionally, Xixian has established a smart agriculture integration platform composed of 12 systems, including water-fertilizer integrated management, plant disease and insect monitoring, and monitoring and evaluation of cultivated land quality. This platform has enabled pear farmers to realize a range of digital operations in seedling selection, planting, pest control, and meteorological analysis.

The pear cultivation industry in Xixian has also embraced e-commerce, gaining popularity both in China and globally. According to Zhang Lizhou, general manager of a leading local e-commerce company, the annual export volume of Xixian Yuluxiang pears has increased by over 20 percent annually since 2020, with the export volume expected to reach 480 tonnes this year.

To further promote Yuluxiang pears, Xixian organizes various activities annually, such as tourism festivals and investment promotions, and facilitates enterprise participation in agricultural product exhibitions both domestically and internationally.