Across China: “Green luxuries” grow at world’s Third Pole

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CHENGDU, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) — For generations, vegetables and fruits were considered luxuries in Litang County on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, a region belonging to the world’s Third Pole.

In the past, potatoes and highland barley were the only crops that could grow in the county in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, at an altitude of about 4,000 meters.

However, the county now can produce enough vegetables not only to satisfy local needs but also to be sold to other areas including Macao and Hong Kong thanks to greenhouses and other agricultural technologies.

Launched in 2017, the agricultural park of Zhuosang, a modernized ecological agricultural park in the county covering an area of about 1,467 hectares, produces vegetables of an even higher quality than those from fertile plains.

The vitamin C content of the white radish produced in the county is 97 percent higher than that of varieties from low-altitude areas, according to a report released by a research institute of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in 2018.

“The county can produce first-class white radish from July to November because of the natural advantages on the plateau including the large temperature differences between day and night, abundant sunshine and high water quality,” said Chen Gang, general manager of an innovation center in the agricultural park.

Adopting the advanced agricultural technologies including unmanned sowing vehicles with satellite navigation, the center supplied 940 tonnes of white radish to Macao and Hong Kong in 2018, according to Chen.

The agricultural park of Zhuosang has created more than 400 local jobs and benefited 35 poverty-stricken villages.

“It is surprising that the fruits and vegetables grown here are better in taste than those from my hometown,” said Sun Guanmin, an agricultural technician from Shouguang City, China’s major vegetable production base. Sun has trained local villagers in greenhouse planting technologies in the past three years.

“We are actively creating brands such as vegetables from the Third Pole since high-quality agricultural products are gradually being recognized by the market and consumers,” said Liu Jiwei, deputy chief of Jiawa Township in the county.

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