Vineyards in Ningxia are set to receive help from an unlikely source after a deal between Israel and China paved the way for Israeli experts to tackle water shortages in the region.
A US$76m irrigation project is to cover 9,200 hectares vineyards across 80 wineries in Helan Mountain East, the key quality wine region in Ningxia. By implementing new Israeli technologies and equipment, the area’s water efficiency is expected to improve significantly, said the Ningxia government.
Water shortages have been a lingering problem for agriculture in the Gobi Desert, which covers large areas of China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Gansu Province and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Better irrigation is believed to be the solution.
Israel is internationally known for its water saving inventions, including drip irrigation. The country has been offering technical support to China’s water deficient areas through a series of research and development projects.
One of the technologies to be used in Ningxia involves mixing water with fertiliser. The project is expected to ‘transform and upgrade the traditional irrigation system’ in Ningxia, and ‘provide precious experience’ on improving water efficiency for Ningxia’s booming wine industry, said officials.
The Ningxia vineyard project is part of a bigger $300m initiative between China and Israel to tackle water shortages in Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang up to 2017, according to local media.
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