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Horticultural experts discuss future of Chinese industry

Last week, the 11th meeting of the Beijing Factory Engineering Technology Research Center took place. "Research and suggestions from experts and members of the technical committee will help innovation", said Mr. Gu Benjia, the committee chairman and general manager of Kingpeng, in the welcome speech at the conference.

The theme of the meeting was "How digitalization & low carbonization promote high-quality development of agriculture." The conference focused on plant factories and aimed to find new ways to promote the high-quality development of China's horticulture. At the same time, one of the main points of this event was to examine the core issues of this space and how to address them to be better prepared for future challenges.

"The event serves as a high-quality exchange platform for experts in the field," said Mr Wang Junfeng, the chairman and General Manager of Beijing Xingdongfang Industry & Commerce Co. Ltd.

The event enabled the professionals to discuss the industry's key issues and look towards future technologies of plant factories. "By exchanging knowledge from the industry's top experts, the Beijing Plant Factory Engineering Technology Research Center has addressed current challenges and opportunities."  

The conference was hosted by Mr. Ma Chengwei, a Professor at China Agricultural University, and Mr. Guo Wenzhong, a Researcher of the Information Technology Research Center, Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences. During the day, the current and future challenges of the industry were discussed.

Left: Mr. Ma Chengwei. Right: Mr. Guo Wenzhong. 

Li Tianlai, a scholar at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Professor at Shenyang Agricultural University, shared insights on the development of Chinese horticultural facilities. He discussed the challenges of the sector, such as the shortages of skilled labor and the energy efficiency of a cultivation facility, and how to couple that with low-cost and high-quality vegetables.

Zhao Chunjiang, a scholar at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Director of the National Engineering Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture, and Vice Chairman of the Beijing Association for Science and Technology, held a presentation on the Technology Application and Outlook in Horticulture. He described the overall situation of the Chinese agricultural industry, with a focus on large-scale, large output & value crops. He talked about innovations in horticulture and the rapidly developing gardening space.

Guo Shirong, a Professor at Nanjing Agricultural University, made an overview of hydroponic cultivation in China. He discussed the state of the art of the soilless cultivation industry by providing thorough case studies. 

Next up was Zhou Zengchan, Director of the Beijing Plant Factory Engineering Technology Research Center. As an expert in the field of R&D and the application and opportunities of plant factories and high-efficient facilities and tools, he talked about the potential of low-carbon greenhouse facilities, plant factories, intelligent equipment, and smart management control. He also highlighted future important R&D points.

Zou Zhirong, a professor at Northwest A&F University, showed visitors to Yang Ling's smart agriculture demonstration park. He shared the technical innovations and went deep into the thought process behind the positioning, layout, and functioning of the facility. 

Gao Lihong, a professor at China Agricultural University's talk focused on automation. He examined the market demand and possible future trends based on the development of the economy, production, and technology. 

From the Beijing University of Technology, professor Gao Guohua also dove into automation and robotization. He explained the research and development of various robots, such as fruit and vegetable planting robots, tomato seedlings, tomato fruit picking robots, etc., and highlighted the most potential emerging technologies in the agricultural field of agricultural robots.

Zhou Changji, a Researcher at the Academy of Agricultural Planning and Engineering, MARA, highlighted another important topic for the industry: heat. His talk was about large-scale greenhouse thermal connection systems. He conducted an in-depth analysis of greenhouse heating, boiler room design, and carbon dioxide supply, showing the improvement and application of this important link of greenhouse thermal air supply. 

Solar Greenhouses make up the majority of the Chinese horticultural industry, and Zhao Shumei, a professor at China Agricultural University, spoke about the current state and prospect of the application of new materials and structures. His analyses helped visitors further understand scientific principles, structural status, greenhouse materials, and the transformation and development of sunlight greenhouses.

Li Xinxu, General Manager of Beijing Cuihu Agricultural Technology Co., Ltd, concluded the day with an extensive report on the production of the Beijing Multi-span greenhouse factories. He went over the history and state of multi-span greenhouses and showed the Cuihu Smart Greenhouse case study.

Pragmatic and forward-looking
At the end of the day, Zhang Dong, Secretary of the Party Branch, Executive Director, and General Manager of the Beijing Institute of Agricultural Machinery Research Institute, was happy with how informative yet pragmatic the whole conference was. He said he was certain that the Beijing Plant Factory Engineering Technology Research Center would contribute greatly to the development of plant factories in China. "We want to help find new routes for the high-quality development of horticulture, pointing out directions and making suggestions for new approaches. By supporting the development of plant factories, we can contribute to China's development of modern agriculture."

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