Researcher devoted to sweet potatoes for 33 years in hometown
2018-05-15 16:22:00

Li Hongmin’s bond with sweet potatoes took root in 1985, when he graduated from Nanjing Agricultural University and returned to his hometown in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province. Thirty-three years later, he is now an expert supported by the National Sweet Potato Industry and Technology System, a researcher at Sweet Potato Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and director of the sweet potato cultivation division in Xuzhou Sweet Potato Research Center.

When Li first started his work, the farming of sweet potatoes still depended on horses and cattle. In 1997, he got an opportunity for a joint study in Japan, where he visited a great number of farmers and took part in field labor, observing and recording carefully at the same time. After returning to China, he began to innovate agricultural machineries through the simplest ways.

To deal with the complicated and tiring watering method during the transplanting process, Li invented the watering fertilizing rupture device, which completes the procedures such as point location, pit digging, watering, fertilization, pesticide application and mulch film breaking at one time. The new device can water an area of two mu (about 1,333 square meters) per hour, saving about 80 percent of labor and 50 to 95 percent of water. What’s more, with this machine, special fertilizer and pesticide are dissolved in water and applied to the soil. The device was granted a patent for utility model in 2008.

Li has also developed a series of practical technologies and devices including winter daylight-saving storage of sweet potatoes, simplified greenhouse winter storage and the insect-sucking machine. The inventions have been demonstrated and promoted in production, sparing 80 percent of labor in sweet potato farming. In 2016, Li was assigned to Liangwei Village, Liangji Township of Suining County to support local agriculture. In the village, he carried out numerous lectures on agricultural techniques, handed out 20,000 free seedlings of “Xushu 32” to ten low-income families for trial planting and provided further technical assistance for the farmers.


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