“Other 250kg sold!” These two days, Prof. Weibin Ruan from Nankai University’s College of Life Sciences paid attention all the time to the new messages. The WeChat platform operated by his laboratory, “Biological Control Technology Team of Nankai University’s College of Life Sciences”, which aims at introducing green biotechnology, these two days has just started to sell potatoes.
These potatoes are all produced in Zhuanglang Country, Pingliang, Gansu Province, which is a national-level poverty-stricken county. Local farmers applied the green pest control technology developed by Nankai University during the cultivation. The residue of pesticides of potatoes remains zero in the detection, thus the potatoes are approved as genuine green and organic.
Why would a university professor start to sell potatoes? The story begins from a lecture of Agricultural Industrialization Technology, the last June.
As one of the 23 deep poverty-stricken counties in Gansu Province, Zhuanglang County is a key county of national poverty alleviation work. The county has a large number of poor people, a large poverty area, and a deep poverty level. The annual income per capital is less than 13,000 yuan. It is also Nankai University’s partner poverty-stricken county. From 2012, Nankai University has actively used its own advantages to carry out precise assistance to Zhuanglang.
Potato planting is one of the main industries in Zhuanglang, with an annual output of 300,000 tons of commercial potatoes. Zhuanglang potato contains more starch, calcium and other nutrients than other similar products. However, local farmers found that there are a large number of underground pests that damage the seed and root system after sowing and before emergence, which greatly affects the appearance and price of potatoes.
The green pest control technology long-developed by Prof. Ruan’s team can replace chemical pesticide and control the underground pest with green technology, just solving the pest problem for potato growers for a long time. Under the guidance and management of him and other deputy cadres, the organic potatoes in the Technical Demonstration Base use sheep manure as fertilizer, and adopt artificial weeding in the whole process, instead of chemical fertilizer and herbicide.
At the end of November last year, about 20 thousand Kg of high-quality potatoes were harvested in 20 mu experimental field. Vice Prof. Hong Zhao from Nankai University’s College of Computer Science and Engineering and other Nankai teachers and students who participated in the summer social practice in Zhuanglang reposted the news of “Prof. Ruan selling potatoes” by WeChat, helping in expanding the market.
Prof. Ruan said that, thanks to the students’ help, they also opened an online store help. He hopes these qualified potatoes can be sold out soon, further promoting people in Zhuanglang to apply green ideas and technology to produce organic potatoes with higher yield, healthier and better taste, thus a transformation from “blood transfusion” to “blood making” can be truly realized.
（Translated by Yuchen Shi，Edited by Davide Francolino and JianjingYun）