BEIJING, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA—Internet-based technologies, notably e-commerce, have revitalized rural markets in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) by improving the quality of agricultural produce and in connecting small farmers with big markets, which has helped reduce poverty in the countryside, according to a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) publication launched today.
“The government is utilizing opportunities to enhance rural development through the application of information and communication technology in agricultural production, marketing, management, and extension services,” said ADB Director General for East Asia Ms. Amy Leung at the launch of the book, Internet Plus Agriculture, in Beijing. “ADB is committed to work together with the PRC government to modernize agriculture and raise productivity using big data and blockchain to secure food safety, as well as improve infrastructure for agriculture-associated logistics services. The PRC’s experiences from implementing policies and pilot projects in ‘internet-plus’ agriculture will have valuable lessons for other developing countries.”
“Internet plus” agriculture is the application of internet technology such as mobile internet, internet of things (IOT), cloud computing, and big data to the production, processing, and trade of agriculture products, agriculture social services, rural tourism, and farmers’ daily consumption. The publication is based on field studies conducted in five provinces—Gansu, Hubei, Shandong, Yunnan, and Zhejiang.
The book shows that application of intelligent agriculture practices also provide substantial benefits in pollution control, which help mitigate the contribution of the agriculture sector to global climatic changes. Optimized use of fertilizer and pesticide translates into less soil pollution and less subsequent non-source point pollution together with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
The book identifies constraints and opportunities for participation of farmers and farmer organizations in the “internet-plus” rural economy. The benefits could be further expanded by the provision of agriculture extension services and logistics capacity, particularly in remote and poverty-stricken areas. Linking future value chain investment projects with access to e-commerce would accelerate rural transformation, the book says.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.