China:

Traditional Chinese medicine a new remedy for crops?

In mid-December 2017 a remedy using extracts from multiple Chinese herbs was approved by French certification body ECOCERT. This biological remedy, developed by the research institute of natural medicine of Lanzhou Jiaotong University in Gansu Province, can effectively treat and prevent diseases in vegetables, fruit trees, tea and tobacco. And all this without causing harm to crops and the environment, its research team said.

Since 2014, the remedy has been used in more than 60,000 hectares of farmland in Gansu, Yunnan, Shaanxi, Sichuan and Fujian provinces. The Chinese government is encouraging biological remedies, which are much less toxic and more efficient than traditional pesticides.

Xinhua.net reports how in early 2015, China started a campaign to ensure zero growth in pesticide application by 2020, as the country's average annual pesticide use in 2012-2014 rose 9.2 percent from the 2009-2011 level, weighing on production costs and food safety.

Grower Li Yuanzhu, who manages a 4-hectare wolfberry farm in Gansu's Yumen City, said the effect of the remedy had ‘exceeded expectations’. "In the past, we used pesticide to kill insects after they damaged the berries. But now, the herbal medicine can protect the berries from insects."

A pilot program involving potatoes in Gansu saw the cure rate of a fungal disease reach 75 percent. Output grew by 16 percent, said researcher Zhang Wenjie with the provincial station of plant protection and quarantine.


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