In photos taken during President Xi Jinping's inspections at different locations in similar settings, Xi is addressing a strategic issue: the comprehensive utilization of saline-alkali land.
One photo was taken in May when Xi was on his inspection tour in Cangzhou, Hebei Province.
On May 11, Xi visited a saline-alkali wheat field in the Xianzhuang area of the old town of Huanghua. Against the scorching sun, Xi walked into the field and picked up a bunch of wheat ears.
In another photo taken in October 2021, Xi is also in a vast field.
On October 21, 2021, Xi inspected the cultivation of saline-alkali-tolerant crops in the Agricultural High-Tech Industrial Demonstration Area in Dongying, Shandong Province. It was the soybean harvest season. Xi picked a pod, peeled off a soybean, and chewed. "The beans are growing very well," he said.
With 100 million hectares of saline-alkali land, China has the third largest amount of saline-alkali land in the world. About 33.33 million hectares of this land has potential for development and utilization. If these arable land reserve resources could be utilized, it would undoubtedly have important strategic significance for ensuring national food security. For example, in the case of rice cultivation, the average yield per hectare can reach 6 tons when rice is grown on improved saline-alkali land. This means that if one additional percent of the country's saline-alkali landi could be used, the rice production would increase by 6 million tons, which is about the same amount of the annual grain production of Zhejiang Province.
Despite advances, harvesting grain on saline-alkali land remains a challenging task. The salinity of the soil for normal crop growth must be below 0.2 percent. When the salinity exceeds 0.6 percent, the emergence rate of crops is low and it is almost impossible to achieve a successful yield.
Traditional saline-alkali land transformation consumes a lot of water.
The authorities in Haituo, Jilin Province, have explored a new model: replacing old canals with underground pipelines, transforming deep gullies into small ditches with efficient drainage systems, and transitioning from flood irrigation to micro-spray drip irrigation.
After implementing this model, the soil salinity at the pilot center was successfully reduced from the range of 0.6 percent to 0.4 percent to less than 0.3 percent, from moderate saline-alkali land to mild saline-alkali land.
Through continuous improvement and transformation, various regions across the country have developed over 40 practical technologies across eight major areas, including soil salt drainage technology, soil bio-organic salt control and soil improvement technology in the comprehensive utilization of saline-alkali land.
The total area of saline-alkali land in China is on a decline, with the proportion of severely saline-alkali land decreasing year after year.
(Edited by Sun Tianren; original story from wechat account of xuexixiaozu）