September 15, 2020
Chinese container aquaculture company selected for government-backed project
Zhaoqing Guangdong Guan Xing Agri Science Co. has been listed among seven "key demonstration technology projects" selected by China's Agriculture Ministry for special support, a designation that typically includes grant aid and promotional assistance.
Guan Xing is bringing data management to a model of aquaculture, in which regular shipping containers are adapted and fitted with tanks, with hatch lids fitted on the top of each container for feeding. The method has been promoted by Chinese policymakers in recent years as a low-tech solution for rural aquaculture, as small-scale production of fish in impoverished regions is promoted as an income-booster for rice and vegetable farmers.
Guan Xing lists itself as the "sole representative" in Guangdong Province for the "green feed" product developed by local feed giant Guangdong Evergreen. The company also recently partnered with Guangdong's Zhaoqing College in its ¥120 million (US$16.8 million) "big data aquaculture" project, which aims to harness artificial intelligence to reduce the ecological footprint of aquaculture, while also creating a tourist attraction at Guan Xing's self-operated farm.
The company's technology reduces tail-water emissions, according to company general manager Shu Rui, who last year secured the Chinese Agriculture Ministry's Green Food mark for his company's sea bass and tilapia production. In a company conference call for media, Shu explained when applied on a large-scale basis, the process involves multiple containers connected to a pond that filters water, which is then circulated to the fish tanks. Solids are filtered out when the water exits the tanks for the pond, Shu said. Shu said the system uses less land – an important trait in a country where farmland is a precious commodity.
Provincial governments across China have taken up the cause of container aquaculture, often harnessing government-owned corporations into the effort. State-owned Guangdong Port Co. was brought on board in 2016 to fund a multi-year programme of container-based aquaculture in villages across southern China identified for poverty-alleviation efforts.