Competitions showcase smart agriculture solutions
Shanghai's food conglomerate Bright Group has teamed up with e-commerce site Pinduoduo to combine smart technologies with agriculture.
The result of the partnership will be seen in a new smart agricultural research base on Chongming Island.
The vertical farming research facility at the Modern Seed Industry Innovation Area on Chongming in the north of Shanghai is expected to boost the city's research capability of smart agricultural to validate and transform cutting-edge research results.
Director Feng Zhiyong of the Shanghai Agricultural and Rural Committee said he hoped various parties and startup research teams could further leverage the research infrastructure to focus on technology advancements in smart agricultural innovation.
A vertical farming competition jointly hosted by the two parties, the Bright-Duoduo Vertical Farming Challenge, and the 3rd Smart Agriculture Competition, wrapped up on Tuesday after dozens of teams submitted their lettuce growing solutions based on different levels of light, temperature, moisture and nutritional elements.
"We're dedicated to further foster the research facility and seed research and agricultural innovation through this kind of competition in the future," said Zhu Weiqi, executive director and general manager of Bright Seedbase (Shanghai) Technology Co Ltd, an affiliate of the local food and agricultural conglomerate Bright Food Group.
Four finalists had been selected from 15 competitors and a dozen judges assessed the per unit output, quality, farming solutions, energy cost and commercial value for each team.
The team of data scientists and agricultural researchers from the Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences was the winner, and the CyberFarmer team from the China Agricultural University won the most energy-efficient award by paying specific attention towards carbon dioxide emissions.
Pinduodo senior vice president Wang Jian said the competitions could enhance technology exchanges and attract more young talents and farming startups to contribute to the high quality development of Chinese agriculture.
Shanghai's latest five-year plan for agricultural and rural development encourages more efficient methods for local agricultural productions, as well as more agricultural talent and high-quality agricultural production entities or cooperatives by the end of 2025.
Smart technologies will also be fully leveraged for vegetables, fungus and flowers to upgrade farming facilities and equipment.
The Bright Seed Vertical farming pilot campus, which was unveiled last July, marks Shanghai's latest effort to explore new technology advancements in agriculture and innovative farming, and serves as an open platform to bring together startups in various fields.
The competitors' lettuce growing solutions could be deployed under extreme circumstances or geographical locations unfit for farming, as well as for vegetable growers to raise efficiency.
By strictly controlling crucial factors such as temperature, moisture and standardized growing patterns, growers are able to predict the output and the commercial launch timeline to help growers and distributors better manage thier supply chain, said Xu Dan, general manager of Beijing HortiPolairs Agricultural Co Ltd, which was also one of the finalists in the competition.