Digital technology, the key to changing the face of rural China

Experts share the same view that digital agriculture, a form of high-tech integration into farming, is the driving force that brings new vitality to rural China.

“Digitalization of rural industries is the key to rural development, and also the new driving force for sustainable rural economic development”, Huang Jikun, a member of the Rural Reconstruction Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, said.

Accordingly, the integration of new technologies such as big data (Big Data), artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) into farming and animal husbandry will be the focus of the smart agriculture strategy. .

“Digital technology entering the supply chain will help increase efficiency and reduce costs”, Mr. Huang said.

The push towards digital agriculture is the result of a plan announced by the Chinese government in January 2020 to promote smart agriculture and provide support for rural regeneration with a vision to 2025.

This plan was announced by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the Cyberspace Administration, which proposes to build a basic data system for rural areas, creating a basis for managing and providing services. oriented service.

Rural digitization is the central theme

The theme was first raised in China’s No. 1 Central Document in 2018 and repeated in 2021, emphasizing the research and use of intelligent agricultural machinery, as well as the development of digital agriculture based on IoT, sensors, navigation systems and robotics.

Xu Lijun, an expert at the Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), and his team used digital technology to promote a new oat variety in Hoi district. Trach, Yunnan Province.

Camera monitors the growth of tea plants at a smart farm in Phuc An city. (Photo: Xinhua)

Since this project was launched in November 2017, oat farming has played an important role in poverty reduction and rural empowerment here.

The research team had access to comprehensive data on grass varieties as well as related farming methods and field management strategies for pest control, providing technical support for agricultural development.

With a cold climate and high terrain above sea level, Hoi Trach often faces a shortage of fodder for livestock. When Xu’s team arrived, the district was looking for crops that could grow well to boost the economy.

After analyzing natural resources through remote sensing data and experiments, the team identified oats as the most suitable crop and set out to explore the adaptability of different varieties.

“Finally, we were able to select a suitable variety to plant across the district. We also apply smart agricultural management in barley fields, for example through data to determine when to weed and control pests.”, Xu shared. Not only that, the digital center that the team set up in Hoi Trach also supports the cultivation of tomato varieties or other crops.

As a result, Hoi Trach is studying to switch to e-commerce platforms to expand the market for local agricultural products.

Digital infrastructure changes the face of the countryside

China’s national development plan emphasizes the need to promote the digitalization of agriculture, creating breakthroughs in technology and important equipment, such as automatic packaging lines and intelligent temperature control systems.

Companies in Zibo, Shandong province have been encouraged to apply automation, mechanics and smart devices to develop production and agricultural management to promote the agricultural chain applying digital technology.

Shandong Qihe Biotechnology, China’s largest mushroom exporter, used numerical control, Big data, sensors and 5G technology at the smart factory to harvest shiitake mushrooms.

Digital technology, the key to changing the face of rural China
Qi He’s Smart Factory Shandong Biotechnology

Hu Zhengpeng, Head of Corporate Information, said that the smart factory has automated production processes such as packaging, sterilization and stacking, and it has also increased the application of digitalization in logistics and logistics. town. Therefore, the factory does not need many permanent workers.

“We used to use 20-30 people at each factory to operate the machines, but now only 2-3 people are needed to check the machines, which has saved a lot of labor costs.”, Mr. Hu said.

Meanwhile, the daily capacity has increased 10 times before, reaching 60,000 bags/day. Smart technology is also used to operate the equipment at high temperatures to ensure 100% sterilization, which is crucial for healthy fungal growth, which is twice as efficient as boilers. formerly.

A business representative said that smart installation not only helps to reduce labor, but also ensures the best indoor environment for mushroom cultivation.

The company invested 200 million yuan ($30.85 million) in the smart factory and recouped the investment in just over a year. The production base here is more than 133 hectares, bringing to the market 75 million mushroom sticks/year, with a total annual value of about 600 million yuan.

Mr. Hu affirmed that digital infrastructure is the foundation to promote rural development through digital technology.

“China needs to promote remote sensing projects in rural areas and strengthen management services, agricultural production based on big data.”Mr. Hu shared, and revealed his intention to build a Big Data platform to collect all data on the global edible mushroom supply chain.

Yu Qiangyi, an expert at CAAS, said his team is working on a smart sensor system that integrates data collected from satellites and drones. These data can create an overall picture of the environment and agricultural production.

“The system not only collects data from sensors, but also acts as a support system to make accurate decisions in smart farm management, by monitoring crop growth and environmental factors such as water, soil, air quality and ecosystems”, CAAS expert said.

“Moreover, the application of AI technology also helps to diagnose crops, so that farmers will know where and how to use products such as pesticides.”.

The use of fertilizers and pesticides in the wheat and maize rotation fields in Northern China has been reduced by up to 10% thanks to the application of this system, while the yield has increased by 10%. The system is also used at a smart orchard in Chengdu, providing information to farmers. Mr. Yu revealed that he will promote the system in rice fields in Suzhou.

Vinh Ngo (According to ChinaDaily)

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