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City turns focus on unmanned farms
From:Shanghai Daily  |  2021-01-13 08:29

The city’s agricultural commission said yesterday it will focus on the development of unmanned farms over the next five years.

It was responding to the digital transformation ambitions released by the Shanghai government last week.

Around 100,000 mu(66.7 square kilometers) of unmanned farms for growing grain and vegetables are to be established in the city.

“It will be effective in ensuring food supply because machines can work day and night,” saidZhangGuokun, director of the Shanghai Agriculture and Rural Affairs Commission.

“Daily agricultural data, such as cultivated area and the amount of pesticide spraying, can be collected through the unmanned machines for better management.”

The city’s first such farm has been in operation since November last year inJiadingDistrict. Over 200 mu of rice fields have been managed by unmanned machines, including cultivating and harvest.

How the agricultural products are, as well as the quality of pig, cattle and poultry, will be based on the data, instead of a certification mark,Zhangsaid.

A group of highly educated farmers and farm managers will be put in place to cope with the high-tech development of agriculture.

The number of managers to analyze agricultural data, manage farmers and enhance customer relationships, will increase from 200 to 500, with over 70 percent holding college degrees or above, according to LuZhengrong, deputy director of the commission.

Some 5,000 more farmers will be trained to operate advanced agricultural machinery and standardized cultivation, rising from 20,000 to 25,000.

The plan also says 13 distinctive agricultural areas for sustainable development will be developed according to their strong points. For example, an industrial area for high-class rice will be established in Songjiang District because the rice there is famous, having been listed in the China Agricultural Brand Catalog in 2019 with 299 other products from elsewhere in China.

Other industrial areas include a vegetable zone in the Pudong New Area, a domestic animal area on the island district ofChongmingand a peach area insuburban Fengxian District.