Ningbo's greenhouse waxberries hit sales peak with digital boost

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated:  June 11, 2024 L M S

With help from digital technologies, Ningbo's greenhouse waxberries have entered their peak sales season, keeping farmers busy and satisfied, according to Tide News.

Yuyao, a city-level city in Ningbo, boasts a long history of cultivating waxberries. Archaeological finds at the Hemudu site in Yuyao suggest waxberry cultivation in the region dates back over 7,000 years. Today, Zhangting town in Yuyao has 22,300 mu (14,867 hectares) dedicated to waxberry cultivation, producing over 15,000 tons of fruit annually, worth over 200 million yuan ($27 million).

"We can harvest around 250 kilograms of waxberries per day, and demand exceeds supply," said Sun Laida, manager of a waxberry cultivation base in Zhangting. 

At the base, Sun and his workers are busy sorting and packaging the waxberries, frequently receiving orders over the phone.

The secret behind the popularity of these greenhouse-grown bayberries lies in digital technology. Sun's smart greenhouse automatically adjusts temperature, water, and lighting to ensure optimal growing conditions.

"We can remotely monitor the growth of the fruits and access real-time data on air temperature, humidity, and soil moisture through our environmental monitoring system," said Sun.

This year, the greenhouse waxberries hit the market 20 days earlier than usual. They boast superior quality, larger size, and sweeter taste conventionally grown berries and command prices 5 to 10 times higher.

Zheng Kebin, an agricultural technician in Zhangting, credits digitization as a key driver of technological growth in the waxberry industry.

"Digitalization is not only enhancing berry quality but also making our product safer for consumption," he said, referring to the traceability codes attached to each package. These codes provide detailed information about the berries' growth process, ensuring transparency and safety.

Furthermore, the town has improved its business model, incorporating livestream sales and cold chain services to boost economic returns. In 2023, these efforts helped farmers sell over 50 million yuan worth of fresh waxberries.

To further enhance farmers' digital knowhow, Ningbo authorities organized a workshop on short video editing and promotion in Zhangting, empowering local farmers with digital tools and injecting new vitality into rural vitalization efforts. Plans are also underway to expand digital greenhouses and strengthen the entire waxberry production chain, while also creating a local brand through a series of live streaming and short video training sessions.