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China’s agricultural sector gets boost thanks to advanced tech

(People's Daily Online)    13:57, April 20, 2020

A slew of advanced technologies has been applied in China’s agriculture sector, driving the development of the country’s smart agriculture.

Agricultural technician Zhou Xiaomao checks the growth of rice seedlings in an automatic rice seedling center in Laoqiao town, Jishui county in Ji’an, east China’s Jiangxi province, April 12. (Photo by Luo Jianrong/People’s Daily Online)

Zhao Zhendong, a tractor driver from Taishang village of Laixi city in east China’s Shandong province, swears by smart agricultural machinery. In late March, he used his four large smart tractors, equipped with self-driving technology based on the Beidou navigation system, to plough his fields.

“About 10 hectares of farmland can be ploughed in one day,” said Zhao, adding that the Beidou system has significantly improved the efficiency of spring farming.

Furthermore, the supply and marketing cooperative in Bishan town of Liangping district in southwest China’s Chongqing purchased three spraying drones for more than 133 hectares of rice paddies. “The drones are not subject to terrain conditions and can improve sowing efficiency,” said Jiang Liying, head of the cooperative.

Data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs shows that over 30,000 spraying drones have been used across the country for this year’s spring farming, and the amount of intelligent equipment, including automatic plowing tractors used in farming, assisted by the Beidou navigation system surpassed 20,000 units.

Technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G have also been applied in the sector. Song Changjiang, a farmer from north China’s Hebei province, is one of many who have benefited from IoT technology.

Song has been planting melons for over 30 years. Last year, the output of melons from his four “smart greenhouses” doubled. “I had to go to check on the greenhouses when there was a change in the weather in the past, but now I can adjust air inlets, temperature and humidity of the greenhouses through my smartphone,” Song said.

The IoT-based remote monitoring and control system installed in the greenhouses can monitor temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide concentration in real time, said Xu Xiaoyan, a manager from Hebei Guanzhi Agricultural Technology Co., Ltd., which provides such services, adding that farmers can control these environmental parameters via an app so that crops can grow better.

Airice, a modern agricultural company in Guangzhou in south China’s Guangdong province, has full 5G signal coverage over its rice paddies, through which real-time data including sunlight, pH value and fertility of soil collected by the farmland data collection station in the rice paddies can be transmitted to a terminal. After cloud computing and big data analysis is carried out, a report on the rice paddies is automatically generated, which will help farmers’ rice cultivation.

Meanwhile, Chinese e-commerce platforms are also leveraging their strengths to help sell agricultural products and promote the penetration of the internet into the agricultural sector.

The market value of smart agriculture in China is predicted to reach 200 billion yuan in 2020, according to a report on the development of digital technologies in the country’s rural areas.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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