Sun Jiansheng came to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 10 years ago. Yet his business started to take off only several years ago when he decided to grow vegetable in the desert.
He started his business from a small supermarket. After years of hard work, the business of the supermarket has been extended into e-commerce, food imports and exports. Although getting a foothold in the local business sector, Sun still felt unsatisfied.
Later, he found an opportunity in vegetable growing.
The local cuisine of the UAE mainly consists of barbecued and fried dishes, with a very limited choice of vegetables. The food is hardly palatable to people from China. The imported vegetables are very expensive and not very fresh. Preservatives are often added for the transportation and storage of such vegetables, which make them unhealthy.
To provide local Chinese with authentic and environment-friendly Chinese fruits and vegetables, Sun decided in 2012 to invest heavily to build a organic vegetable farm in the Nazwa Desert.
The climate in Dubai is hot and dry, with the annual precipitation of only 100 mm. Growing vegetables in the desert requires large investment and is very difficult. A friend of Sun's once persuaded him out of the business.
"I will try my best once I have decided no matter how hard it is," he answered.
While Sun attends his farm in desert heat, thousands of kilometers away in the city of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan, Nurdinov Nizomidin, a farmer, is also busy working under the scorching sun in the cotton field.
Different from Dubai's terrible natural conditions, Osh enjoys good climate and abundant water resources, making it an important area of cotton production.
As a man of wealth with some fame in the local area, Nurdinov earns 40,000 U.S. dollars every year, which is not a small figure compared with the average monthly wage of 200 U.S. dollars there.
Despite the favorable natural conditions, Nurdinov said it was China's green technology that brings fortune.
In the past, the cotton planting technology came from the Soviet Union, with the output of 3 tons per hectare. Later, Chinese technicians of the Institute of Cotton Research of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences came to Kyrgyzstan to promote cotton-planting technology. They managed to find the most suited breeds for planting, based on the local natural conditions. They brought in weeding mulch to reduce labor intensity, and more advanced seeding machines to save seeds. They also measured and analyzed soil to provide more accurate and effective fertilizers.
At first, local residents were skeptical that Chinese cotton-planting technology would be superior to those of the Soviet Union. But Nurdinov chose to try them out and received technical guidance of Chinese agronomists. To his surprise, the output of his cotton fields increased from 3 tons to 5 tons. Nowadays, China's cotton-planting technology has been applied to cotton fields of around 10,000 hectares in local areas.