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To cranberries, mushrooms and hemp - scientifically
What kind of agriculture will be engaged in partnership with China Pacific State University
Pacific State University with the participation of partners from China will deal with the study of wild cranberries in Russia, growing in artificial conditions of wood fungus for the food industry, the production of biological fertilizers, the collection of wild plants, the development of Big Data technologies aimed at systematizing large amounts of information. 8 – 9 August 2017 of the year in the border town of Fuyuan (PRC), the delegation of Khabarovsk, which included representatives of the PNU, took part in several events. The main outcome of the Russian-Chinese meeting was the signing of a quadripartite cooperation agreement between the University, the Far Eastern Agricultural Research Institute, the Heilongjiang Academy of Sciences and the Main United Economic and Technical Cooperation Development Company of Heilongjiang Province.
- In which events did you take part in Fuyuan, what important agreements were signed?
- One of the goals of the visit of the Russian delegation to the border city of Fuyuan was to participate in the event in support of the water resources of the Amur River, which took place on the Chinese part of the Great Ussuri island, the so-called Black Bear Island. One of the world's largest virtual trading platforms - Alibaba Group - became a financial partner. During the visit, the delegation participated in a series of meetings, including discussions on the development of scientific and scientific-practical cooperation between Russia and China.
I note that the TUG has been negotiating with the Chinese side for a long time about the implementation of joint scientific and practical projects. About a month ago, in Fuyuan City, with the active cooperation and participation of the administration of the two cities and personally the first secretary of the Communist Party of Fuyuan Joe Hoon, the main positions of the international agreement that we formally formalized at the meeting were determined.
- Who signed the agreement and what is the essence?
- By signing the agreement, we have opened a new stage in the development of relations between Russia and China in the scientific, scientific and practical fields. It actually turned out to be a quadrilateral platform agreement signed by the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Sciences and the Main United Economic and Technical Cooperation Development Company of Heilongjiang Province, and by the Pacific State University and Far Eastern Agricultural Research Institute from the Chinese side. Today on the agenda are 6 directions that have been described in the annexes to the basic agreement.
- Tell us more about these six projects.
- The first concerns the technology of cultivation of cranberries. Here, an integrated approach, firstly, we are talking about industrial cultivation technologies with special preparation of land plots. The second is the development of cultivation technologies in natural conditions close to them. The Far East has a huge production base in the form of wetlands, which can be effectively used for agricultural purposes. And, finally, requires breeding work on the breeding of new varieties. Today, North American is mainly used, but we have our own beautiful Far Eastern cranberries, which have more nutritional, medicinal, vitamin values, more frost-resistant. Our specialists will study the cultivation of varieties already growing in the Far East, as well as create new ones and adapt them to our conditions.
The second direction is mushrooms, for which there is an enormous demand in the Chinese market. We actually have a one and a half billion consumer market of expensive, high-tech and quite simple product from the point of view of production. Existing technologies of growing mushrooms suggest the use of a certain type of raw materials, consisting of wood chips and herbal mixtures. We see the potential in new technologies using the resource base available in the Russian Far East. In our arsenal is a multi-grade chips, additives based on sawdust mixture and much more. The development of technological solutions is required, which in the end will allow to receive products of the best quality and large volumes.
We also plan to study and create technologies for growing new species of fungi that grow in the Far East of Russia and are absent in China. For example, consider the therapeutic properties of the Chaga fungus and develop a technology for its industrial cultivation and processing. Undoubtedly, we will involve representatives of the Russian and Far Eastern scientific communities in the work. I am sure that the project will be of interest to colleagues from the Far Eastern Medical University, representatives of manufacturing enterprises that exist in Khabarovsk, Khabarovsk Territory, and the Far East. Together we will get new technological solutions.
- In this case, what role will the TOUG play?
- TUG is the founder of the project from the Russian side and will become the organizer and coordinator of the work. Our university is a scientific and production site, where groups of scientists and engineers will work.
- Today, the media is full of headlines that TOGU will be engaged in the cultivation of hemp. What kind are we talking about? For what purpose can this plant be used?
- Perhaps the most resonant project at the moment under the agreement is the industrial cultivation of non-narcotic cannabis. I want to emphasize that we are talking about the cultivation of drug-free cannabis species, which is allowed by law. Such species were bred 50 – 60 years ago by Russian breeders, today such varieties have found wide application in the world, including in China. What do we do? To create and improve the technology of cultivation of industrial plantations, so that, after a certain technological treatment, to obtain, firstly, a refractory building material, which, moreover, is not subjected to disintegration. This is an excellent material for the furniture industry, and it can be used for exterior decoration and finishing of damp rooms. Fabric can also be made from this plant. In addition, hemp has excellent bactericidal properties. And what is perhaps the most important is the raw material of the new generation, which does not require deforestation. Non-narcotic hemp plantations are renewed annually, unlike forest ones, which require 50 – 60 years. At the same time, approximately four times more raw materials are produced from the same area, compared to forest land. This is an important environmental component. Of course, the agricultural — agronomic and breeding — tasks of breeding cannabis will be taken over by scientists from the Far Eastern Scientific Research Institute of Agriculture. The PNU, in turn, will work on the development of mechanisms for cleaning and processing raw materials, creating new technologies, or adapting to the Far Eastern realities of the existing developments. Together with our Chinese colleagues, we will be engaged in writing technological processes in Russian and Chinese, preparing flow charts for the introduction of developments, and extensively introducing technologies into the industry.
- And for the cultivation of wild plants, the fourth direction of scientific research, will also be mapped?
- Of course, and for growing wild plants, including. In the Far East, Siberia, there is a large number of regional endemics - plants that have amazing medicinal properties and nutritional value. Together with our Chinese colleagues we will cultivate them. So, we will study the whole chain, beginning with the identification of species and plant types, ending with the technology of obtaining seeds and creating plantations. This is a long-term, promising, serious work. First find, then sow, collect, go to the varietal composition, describe, classify, improve and only then prepare for industrial production and reach the volumes. Therefore, I repeat, the prospective depth of scientific developments and the scale of the work prove that the signed agreement really opens a new milestone in Russian-Chinese relations.
- What role will be assigned to Chinese colleagues?
- Colleagues from China - direct participants in the process. They will be involved in all types of work, including scientific and technological research. To work on projects, we will create a joint resource base. As a result, we will build an integrated international scientific and practical space that will allow us to get a new resource part, it’s not so much about financial and industrial resources, but about scientific and technological ones. We will get an important complex effect, which will allow us to get results 10 times higher than if we were working on projects separately.
- Are there any deadlines for the implementation of projects?
- The basic dates, of course, will be. Within two months we will prepare basic project documentation. Already established working groups, which included representatives of the cities of Fuyuan and Khabarovsk. The groups identified a list of tasks that need to be worked out and broken down into events, and a meeting is scheduled for the third decade of October to discuss a detailed timetable for the implementation of project directions for the next year.
- You say that the working group has already been formed, but will you add participants during the research?
- The basic working group is formed, but the composition according to the directions can be expanded. In the work on certain topics, other participants will be invited to the group, whether they are manufacturing enterprises or specialized scientists.
- How will the implementation of these projects affect the development of the territory of the Far East?
- We will get practical technologies that can be used in the framework of the implementation of the federal program of the Far Eastern hectare. There are many different uses for land, but agriculture plays a leading role. Why? First of all, because these are technologies that will allow using the available Far Eastern hectares efficiently. Take the same cranberries. In the Far East there are excellent conditions for its cultivation: it is acidic soil, swampy land, and the presence of unique wild varieties. Not so big investments are needed, but at the same time a huge yield and a huge consumer market are guaranteed. In fact, we are aimed at solving an important state task - the development and provision of people with efficient technologies for the development of Far Eastern land. At the same time, it can also be projects for the cultivation of wild plants, mushrooms, other solutions that the PNU is ready to develop and adapt today in the form of technological maps, ready-made solutions, provide both the state and residents of Russia who can get real benefits from the development of Far Eastern land. .
- You talked about six annexes to the agreements. What else do you plan to do together with your Chinese colleagues?
- There will be projects related to joint developments in the field of IT-technologies, the use of geo-information and space technologies for the national economy. We are talking, first of all, about the space monitoring of the Far Eastern territories: the Amur River, forests and so on (the fifth annex). The sixth is information resources. Today, Big Data technologies and robotization technologies are actively developing. We know that we will not confine ourselves to six agreements. Exactly, new topics will appear. The main thing is that we made this strategically important conceptual step. This is a new word in the development of scientific and scientific-practical partnership between the two countries.