Wednesday, September 1, 2021
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Universities in contest to grow better tomatoes

Two Chinese universities and an agriculture-focused technology com-pany have launched a world-wide competition to cultivate better tomatoes.

Participants will be expected to take a multidisciplinary approach, applying nutrition science, precision farming and other relevant technology.

The winners will be judged on yield, nutritional value, environmental sustainability and commercial viability.

The competition is open to young agro-nomists and computer scientists from around the world.

Fifteen teams will be shortlisted by the judging panel to present their plans, with four with the highest scores proceeding to the final round of the competition.

In last year’s inaugural project, the four technology teams employed data analysis, intelligent sensors and greenhouse automation to grow strawberries, producing 196 per cent more fruit by weight on average compared with experienced farmers.

Two of the technology teams have started to commercialise their technology, resulting in real-life gains in productivity for local farmers.

The push toward digital agriculture is the result of a plan released in January last year aimed at improving smart agriculture and providing support for rural vitalisation in the years leading up to 2025.

Jointly released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the Cyberspace Administration of China, the plan proposed building a basic data system for rural areas to facilitate targeted management and services.

The plan highlighted research into and the use of intelligent agricultural machinery as well as the development of smart agriculture based on the internet of things, sensors, location systems, and robots.

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