China's third-largest island fosters a floral economy

Despite the low temperature, Chongming Island, China's third-largest island at the estuary of the Yangtze River, is busy in the New Year. Located in Hexing Village, Gangyan Town, in the middle of the island, the Shanghai Chongming Intelligent Ecological Flower Garden - a large intelligent flower seedling base project with a total investment of more than 220 million RMB - will officially be launched in April, which is more than half a year earlier than originally scheduled.

"Before the Chinese Lunar New Year, the automated seedling production line will be installed and commissioned," said Jiang Wu, a doctor in her early 30s and the person in charge of the technology department in Shanghai Yuanyi Seedling Co., Ltd.

The on-site facilities and equipment mainly originate from Dutch technology, as well as important technologies and equipment from Italy, Denmark, and Japan.

Fabio Camisa, the project manager of the Italian Da Ros company that is working on the site, said: "I have been to China dozens of times. This is my first visit to Chongming Island. Our seeding line has a good market in the world. "The planting line selected this time is a new product with a high degree of automation and planting efficiency. This project can be used as a model to attract more attention from Chinese flower companies and has a good demonstration effect."

Chongming Island is known as the "green pearl" of the Yangtze River estuary. In the past, economic development mainly relied on rice, citrus cultivation, and fisheries. As a key section for the Yangtze River Economic Belt to move towards the ocean, the cultivation of flowers and nursery stocks in Chongming Island in the past was relatively simple, including metasequoia, boxwood, narcissus, and anthurium. In 2016, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council issued the Outline of the Development Plan of the Yangtze River Economic Belt. In response to the call of it in the Yangtze River basin, Chongming further explores the “floral economy” with international cooperation and explores new energy for development.

At present, the Chongming District of Shanghai is stepping up preparations for the Tenth China Flower Expo, which will be held in 2021. The goal is to build Chongming into a "sea of flower island" and a "never-ending" flower fair.

Chongming District Party Secretary Li Zheng introduced that in order to attract global high-quality modern agricultural enterprises, Chongming District has provided 10,000 hectares of land for investment in the past two years, signed a series of cooperation agreements including modern flower planting, and will vigorously develop urban modern agriculture, focus on building a modern flower industry cluster. It is estimated that by 2021, the total planting area of ​​flowers and seedlings in the Chongming District will reach more than 6,000 hectares, and sales will reach more than 1 billion RMB.

The Shanghai Chongming Smart Ecological Flower Garden Project includes a highly automated production line covering sowing, germination, seedling raising, transplanting, and shipping. The production line logistics uses a fully automatic flower seedbed circulation system, which is a leading technology in China. When the assembly line is fully operating, it can support the simultaneous production of more than 400,000 trays. And if all the seedbeds are full, it can hold more than 80 million flower seedlings.

Chongming's good natural environment has attracted domestic and foreign flower companies. Jiang Wu said: "We irrigate seedlings through rainwater recycling, and use river water to irrigate flowers for outdoor viewing and trial planting. Chongming's good water quality is important to us. In production and logistics, the company also pays attention to environmental protection and recycling, further to nurture the ecology of the island and form a virtuous circle. "

In the years when the Yangtze River Basin was under great protection, the Chongming District of Shanghai explicitly proposed to "build a world-class ecological island" and adopted a series of measures to strictly protect the environment. According to the "Thirteenth Five-Year Plan" for the development of it, by 2020, the rural sewage treatment rate in Chongming will reach 100%. Chongming also severely restricted the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agricultural production, and the quality of river systems will be significantly improved.

Chongming Island's great attraction to domestic and foreign flower companies also lies in its unique position as a flower trade and transportation hub with the bridges and tunnel systems connecting Jiangsu Province and Shanghai City in the Yangtze River Delta region. Besides, it can be easily connected to many countries in East Asia via air and ocean transportation.

Shanghai Honghua Horticulture Co., Ltd., a leader in chrysanthemum breeding and planting in China, plans to add a large-scale planting base in Chongming. In the past, this company's chrysanthemum seedlings had to be airlifted from multiple bases to Shanghai. After being packed in Shanghai, it was then shipped to Japan. It is believed that the Chongming base will strengthen its production and logistics overseas.

According to the China Flower Association, Shanghai has become China's main flower trade hub. China has become the world's largest flower production center, an important flower consumer and a flower import and export trade country.

With the increasing influence of the Chinese flower market, some international flower companies also plan to expand their business in China. The world's leading flower companies and institutions are negotiating cooperation projects with Chongming.

"We can learn from foreign counterparts, and competition has given us new inspirits." A large local flower grower in Chongming said that everyone welcomed these "global collaborators."

The operator of Shanghai Chongming Smart Ecological Flower Garden, Yuanyi Seedling Co., Ltd, is moving faster. At present, an exhibition greenhouse of about 2,300 m2 has been opened to the public. Here, more than ten well-known Chinese and foreign breeding companies display thousands of potted flower pots, seedlings, and seeds, such as Poinsettia and Begonia.

In addition to the Smart Ecological Flower Garden, there are nearly ten international flower projects under construction and preparation in Chongming, involving multi-national cooperation.

Gerard Lentjes from the famous company Armada from the "Flower Kingdom", the Netherlands, told reporters earlier that the company is very interested in establishing the "Dutch Flower Seedling R & D Center" project in Chongming and is willing to invest in technical cooperation in the fields of varieties research and patent protection.


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