Across China: Origin tracing boosts kiwifruit trade
By Xinhua writers Zhang Yiyi, Xiang Dingjie
GUIYANG, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Apart from farming tools like insect-killing lamps and sticky worm traps, Wu Daocheng uses a number of "unusual" devices such as cameras and mobile meteorological stations in his kiwifruit orchard in southwest China's Guizhou Province.
These Internet-linked devices are connected to a virtual central desk -- the Xiuwen Agricultural Cloud -- to make a digitalized system of origin tracing. With these new "farming tools," information on the history of the fruit's growth can be displayed on consumers' cell phones by scanning a QR code on marketed fruit.
"All of the information eventually goes into QR codes," said Li.
By scanning the QR code on the fruit, a consumer will receive the location and owner of the plantation, field management information and when the kiwifruit was picked and shipped.
Each scan is also monitored by the cloud platform for market analysis, in areas such as consumers' different taste preferences, which provides useful feedback for growers. Using the data, growers can adjust factors such as sugar content in the planting process based on market demands.
Xiuwen is a kiwi-planting county in Guizhou. With a moderate altitude, mild weather and good soil, the conditions are ideal for growing kiwifruit, known as the "King of Vitamin C." Since the 1980s, local farmers selected quality kiwi strains from wild plants and started cultivation.
Wu, 50, is a veteran kiwifruit farmer in Xiuwen and a supplier to the local firm, the Xiuwen Agricultural Investment and Development Co, Ltd.
"When smart facilities were placed in the orchard by the company last year, I thought they were useless, although I understood consumers would be more assured with the origin tracing system," he said.
He now finds the devices assist with farming in many ways. Since their implementation, Wu has more time for pruning vines, applying fertilizer and picking fruit, helping reduce labor costs and improving his kiwifruit harvest by 30 percent from last year.
On the screen of the central desk, real-time indexes and data are displayed, showing planting information, fertilizer application records and environmental monitoring indexes of specific kiwifruit plantations.
Wu is happy to use the cloud system as a walking advertisement for the kiwifruit from his orchard, as the data can speak to the quality of the fruit.
With 14 years of kiwifruit plantation experience, Wu has contracted 8 hectares of plantation area with an annual output value of over a million yuan (150,000 U.S. dollars).
The total planting area of kiwifruit in Xiuwen has reached 11,133 hectares with 6,600 households involved.
The output value of Xiuwen's kiwifruit industry is expected to reach 3 billion yuan this year.
The big-data system has covered 25 percent of the total kiwifruit planting area in Xiuwen with plans for further expansion.
"The big-data system aims to cover the whole kiwifruit industrial chain, including the planting, warehouse storage and logistics, sorting and packaging, intensive processing, as well as sales," said Li Yang, a representative from the company responsible for the comprehensive agricultural development in the county.
The company introduced a sorting line from the Netherlands last year, which helps grade and pack different classes of kiwifruit based on their weight and levels of sugar and Vitamin C content.
Li said the system helps the company monitor all 500 pesticide residue indicators, which are required to export the fruit to overseas markets including Japan, Russia and Malaysia.