Technologies promote high-quality development of apple industry in NW China’s Shaanxi

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During his visit to Yan’an city, northwest China’s Shaanxi Province in October 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping recognized the city’s efforts to develop the apple industry through the adoption of technology.

The climate, sunlight, latitude, altitude and other factors in northern Shaanxi shape it into a suitable place for developing the apple industry. Besides, equipped with advanced technologies such as drip irrigation, dwarf planting, and production lines for sorting fruits, apples can be sold out locally with a vast market awaiting, Xi said.

Shaanxi embraces the favorable timing, geographical and human conditions to vigorously develop the apple industry, which is the perfect, most suitable and promising industry for the region, he added.

Thanks to ceaseless efforts in making innovations in the selection of apple varieties, management, and marketing, the quality, efficiency and brand value of Yan’an’s apple industry have been continuously improved. The city’s apples have reached overseas markets and even entered China’s space station.

In recent years, Yan’an has accelerated the promotion of planting of new apple varieties and dwarf planting techniques.

Villager Li Yuhong has been planting apple trees for 30 years in Anshan village, Luochuan county, Yan’an. In 2018, he began to practice high-density planting by bunching dwarf apple trees close together after learning planting techniques and taking part in training on apple tree management.

Compared with traditional tall apple trees, the planting of dwarf apple trees can reduce labor costs by about half. For example, nowadays he needs to hire one person to spray pesticides in his orchard, but that job used to require three workers, said Li.

Li has become a senior agronomist and formulated apple management guidelines on standardized production techniques to help other apple growers learn these techniques.

By leveraging emerging technologies such as the Internet and big data, Luochuan county, which is famous for its apples, has standardized the management of the breeding of apple seedlings and green apple planting bases, established an environmental quality monitoring platform for production areas, and built a big data center for apple quality.

Luochuan is working hard to promote water-saving and dwarf planting techniques and enhance fine management of its current 120,000 mu (8,000 hectares) of dwarf apple orchards, said Qu Juntao, Party chief of a service center for promoting apple planting techniques in the county.

In addition, Yan’an has built 105 digital production lines for sorting fruits, which can select 355 tonnes of apples per hour.

Chen Jianxun, chairman of Luochuan Qingyi Manor Biotechnology Co., Ltd., said that his company introduced this digital sorting line, which can calculate the sweetness of apples and distinguish fruits affected by diseases and those with bruising on the surface from the good ones. “In this way, we ensure that each apple selected looks and tastes good,” Chen said.

A modern logistics center has been built in Luochuan, from where apples and related products such as apple vinegar, cider and apple crisps are delivered to the rest of China and the world.