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Urban agriculture in Shenzhen, China
Traditionally, Chinese cities have been known to mix agricultural activities within the urban setting. Due to the large and growing population in China, the government supports urban self-sufficiency in food production. Shenzhen’s village structure, sustainable methods, and new agricultural advancements initiated by the government have been strategically configured to supply food for this growing city.
Village structure, methods, and new advancements
- The city farms are located about 10 km from the city center in a two-tier system. The first tier approached from city center produces perishable items. Located just outside these farms, hardier vegetables are grown such as potatoes, carrots, and onions. This system allows produce to be sold in city markets just a few short hours after picking.
- Another impressive method used within Chinese agriculture and aquaculture practice is the mulberry-dyke fish-pond system, which is a response to waste recycling and soil fertility. This system can be described as
“mulberry trees are grown to feed silkworms and the silkworm waste is fed to the fish in ponds. The fish also feed on waste from other animals, such as pigs, poultry, and buffalo. The animals in turn are given crops that have been fertilized by mud from the ponds. This is a sophisticated system as a continuous cycle of water, waste and food…with man built into the picture.”
- As population grows and industry advances, the city tries to incorporate potential agricultural growth by experimenting in new agricultural methods. The Fong Lau Chee Experimental Farm in Dongguan, Guangdong, has worked with new agricultural advancements in lychee production. This farm was established with aspirations of producing large quantities of high quality lychees by constantly monitoring sugar content and seeds. This research, conducted by local agricultural universities, allows for new methods to be used with hopes of reaching the needs of city consumers.
- However, due to increased levels of economic growth and pollution, some urban farms have become threatened. The government has been trying to step in and create new technological advancements within the agricultural field to sustain levels of urban agriculture.
- “The city plans to invest 8.82 billion yuan in 39 agricultural projects, including a safe agricultural base, an agricultural high-tech park, agricultural processing and distribution, forestry, and eco-agricultural tourism, which will form an urban agriculture with typical Shenzhen characteristics.” In conjunction with this program, the city is expected to expand the Buji Farm Produce Wholesale Market.
- According to the Municipal Bureau of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery the city will invest 600 million yuan in farms located around the city, with hopes that the farms will provide “60 percent of the meat, vegetables, and aquatic products in the Shenzhen market.”
- There has also been an emerging trend of going green and organic as a response to pollution and pesticides used in farming practices. Vegetable suppliers are required to pass certain inspections held by the city’s agriculture bureau before they can be sold as “green.”
- Pepall, Jennifer. New Challenges for Chinas Urban Farms IDRC Report (1997a) 21.3.
- Pepall, Jennifer. New Challenges for China's Urban Farms IDRC Report (1997b) 21.3.
- Yeung, Yue-man. Urban Agriculture Research in East and Southeast Asia: Record, Capacities, and Opportunities Cities Feeding People CFP Report 6 (1993) The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
- Shenzhen Government Online Economic Structure: Urban Agriculture 2007. http://english.sz.gov.cn/economy/200708/t20070824_229911.htm.
- Shenzhen Government Online SZ farms to feed city residents Local News. http://english.sz.gov.cn/In/200610/t20061027_148990.htm.
- Shenzhen Government Online Shenzhen store embrace green 2007.
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