China shares its approaches and experiences in digital agriculture and e-commerce transformation for its rural communities


China shares its approaches and experiences in digital agriculture and e-commerce transformation for its rural communities

MARA delegation presents at the 6th FAO Digital Innovation Dialogue session.

Part of MARA delegation during the presentation 

Rome. 11 October 2019. Mr. Wang Xiaobing, the Director-General of Information Centre at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (MARA) led a delegation to FAO. The team presented China’s approaches and experiences in digital agriculture and e-commerce transformation for its rural communities at the 6th Digital Innovation Dialogue, held in FAO Headquarters. 

In recent years, China has made great efforts to promote the integration of the internet, big data, artificial intelligence with the development of agriculture and rural areas, vigorously develop digital agriculture, accelerate the development of e-commerce, and actively promote informatization in rural areas.  

In order to promote digital agriculture and e-commerce to rural farmers, China’s approach is promoting the adoption of e-agriculture and e-village. “To achieve this, we implemented ‘Broadband Village’ project which saw the improvement of the internet speed and reduce the tariffs for farmers to encourage farmers to consume and utilize more internet-based solutions”, remarked Mr. Wang.   

In 2018, the coverage of optical fiber in villages reached 96 %. This investment has facilitated the expansion of the rural e-commerce project and the retail sales of e-commerce in rural areas in China reached 1.37 trillion yuan. Connecting more rural farmers to sell their products online, let to increase of the national agricultural product network retail sales that reached 349.07 billion RMB ($49.2 Billion), which makes increase of 43.3% compare to the previous year.

Meanwhile, Ms. Nie Fengying, Deputy-Director General of Agriculture Information Institute in Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) shared China's wisdom and programmes in the agricultural big data, top-level design of digital villages, agricultural policies and practices, and innovation cases. She said “Digitalization has become an important  driving force for rural  transformation, as the number of internet users and rate in rural area keep growing, the (rural) online business is increasing and creating a lot of e-commerce platforms and entrepreneurs including  big firm (Taobao, DJ, Pinduoduo), and SEMS.”  

In addition, both of the speakers emphasized the commitment of China to eliminate rural poverty by 2020, mainly through rural economy development digitalization. 

This session was chaired by Mr. Samuel Varas, Director of CIO Division at FAO who re-emphasized the need to leverage digital innovation such as Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT) to empower smallholder and family farmers in rural areas, particularly using successful cases of e-commerce.

 About FAO Digital Innovation Dialogue 

Digital Innovation Dialogue was launched in early 2019 by the CIO to serve as a forum to enhance knowledge sharing and mutual learning between multidisciplinary innovation practitioners and FAO staff through open and informal discussions.  

The previous Digital Innovation Dialogue series have organized several workshops and invited partners like Alibaba Cloud, IBM’s The Weather Company, ESRI, Gartner, and National Telecommunication Agency in Brazil to share their digital innovations. 

More information about the Digital Innovation Dialogue, please contact [email protected]

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