Songjiang, nicknamed the “Granary of Shanghai,” saw another bumper autumnal harvest and an increase in grain yield this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic and an extended rainy season.
Amid the ongoing 3rd Songjiang Peasants’ Harvest Festival, 60 percent of the suburban district’s early rice has been reaped for autumn. First cutting has brought grain crops from more than 5,400 mu (360 hectares) of farmland safely into the granaries.
Paddy coverage in Songjiang this year is about 150,000 mu and its grain supply is expected to reach 90,000 tons, according to statistics released by the Songjiang Agriculture and Rural Affairs Commission.
“Harvest efficiency of Songjiang No. 1 Early Rice is as good as last year’s. The whole harvest of the early rice is expected to end before the end of September,” said Yu Chunyun, chief of the commission’s planting office.
“Spring plowing this year endured a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic and then an extended rainy season followed. Luckily, weeks of scorching days during the flowering season saved the situation. So the yield of early rice per mu this year nevertheless reached 500 kilograms,” said Fan Dongying, owner of a family farm in Songjiang’s Xiaokunshan Town.
As the early rice, with about 9,200 mu of planting area, raised the curtain on the autumnal harvest, the mid- and late-ripening rice, which cover 140,000 mu, are next on local farmers’ minds.
In Songjiang’s Yexie Town a battle against pests is being waged by agricultural technicians.
Sheng Ji, chief of the Yexie Agricultural Technology Station, and three other station technicians, take turns to inspect the town’s 35,000-mu farmlands for pests.
“Authorities in Songjiang have taken unified deployment to offer seeds, carry out manure spreading and spread pesticide, so the general condition of Songjiang’s pest hazard is under control,” said Sheng, who nevertheless hasn’t let his guard down.
Pujiang Agricultural Materials Supply Store, a key store in Songjiang’s pesticide supply system, is carrying out its paddy pesticide supply work in an orderly manner. Based on field survey on land area for pest prevention, the store takes pesticide orders, delivers them to farmers and calls up for preventive action.
As the quantity of rice soars, so has its quality.
“To satisfy a market with diverse needs, Songjiang is guiding its farmers to produce more high-quality rice to increase their income,” said Gu Xiaofeng, deputy chief of the commission.
The planting area for the high-quality Songjiang No. 1 Early Rice and Songjiang No. 1018 Japonic Rice has risen to 54,000 mu this year, compared with 47,000 mu last year, up 15 percent.
By the end of 2025, the planting area for high-quality Songjiang rice is expected to reach 80,000 mu and the annual yield of high-quality rice is estimated to reach about 31,200 tons.
In addition, the district is aiming to produce more rice with green certification, which means rice is planted in a pollution-free condition and is fertilized with organic manure.
So far the planting area for green rice in Songjiang is about 140,000 mu, accounting for 93 percent of the total paddy area in the district, ranking first among the city’s 16 districts.
The district is also focusing on improving its agricultural infrastructure.
So far Songjiang has set up four rice processing bases with food processing permits. Their yearly processing capacity has reached 10,000 tons. A low-temperature storage, with a volume of 5,000 tons, has also been constructed to ensure better condition for stored rice and a nonstop supply of rice throughout the year.