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China Researching Technology To Combat Desertification in Belt and Road Partners

July 11, 2018 (EIRNS)—A research team at China’s Chongqing Jiaotong University has developed a technology that holds great promise for combatting conditions of desertification, which pose a danger to key parts of the planet. According to an article in Global Times July 10, the research team that has developed this exciting technology emphasizes that it can serve countries along the route of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The technology, known as “desert soilization” is able to convert desert lands into arable land, by mixing sand with a special solution obtained from plant extracts, “which endows sand with the ability to store water, nutrients and air, and the ability to breed microorganisms as arable soil does,” according to Zhao Chaohua, a member of the research team.

The university has signed a cooperation agreement with the Mawarid Holding company of the United Arab Emirates by which the team will be given 10 sq. km of desert to cultivate desert grass, vegetables and shrubbery, where 85% of the land is considered to be “naturally degraded” by the U.A.E. government.

Prior to its involvement in the U.A.E., the research team successfully set up five experiment sites in China, covering a total of 666.7 hectares; at one of them, in the Ulan Buh Desert in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, they successfully cultivated more than 70 plants, including wheat, corn and sunflowers. Zhao reports that countries in Southwest Asia, North Africa and Australia have contacted the team for potential cooperation.

The head of the research team, Yi Zhijian, told the Abu Dhabi daily The National that with this technology,

“we hope to serve the countries along the Belt and Road Initiative ... many countries along the route are suffering from [desertification] and are in need of the ‘soilization technology.’ ”

At a July 3 press conference in Abu Dhabi, Li Tian’an, Communist Party chief of Chongqing Jiaotong University, stated that this new technology can not only assist the U.A.E., “but also provide a solution to the desertification issue, the ‘cancer of the Earth.’ ” China’s Engineering journal reported in 2016 that desertification is expanding at a speed of 50,000 to 70,000 sq. km globally every year.

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