By Zhou Aimin

Internet of Things, big data, artificial intelligence and other new technologies are becoming new “farming tools” for Chinese farmers, injecting strong impetus into China’s rural revitalization.

Shouguang, known as the “vegetable capital of China” in east China’s Shandong province, has turned 60 mu (4 hectares) of greenhouses into modern agricultural factories where pollination, sorting, fertilization and other farming procedures are all completed by robots.

The “cloud planting” model, increasing vegetable production by 10 percent and the ratio of healthy fruits by 15 percent to 20 percent, has significantly improved the income of farmers.

Promoting the construction of digital villages is an important means to realize rural vitalization on all fronts and an important part of building a digital China.

China recently issued a document on the priorities of digital village construction in 2023, which requires local governments to enhance rural industrial development, rural construction and rural governance with digitalization and thus drive the modernization of agriculture and rural areas.

The country is currently working to use new-generation digital technologies to meet the demands of rural and agricultural modernization, accelerate the construction of digital villages and drive rural revitalization.

Digitalization opens up new space for the revitalization of rural industries.

Today, digital technologies are applied in every aspect of agriculture, including cultivating, planting, management and sales, making traditional agriculture more intelligent and leading to more targeted, efficient and robust agricultural production.

Technologies are used to monitor weather, soil conditions, humidity and temperature to make plants grow better, and experts can diagnose plant diseases and recommend treatment plans via online platforms. Besides, intelligent systems are adopted for targeted and digital management of agricultural personnel, capital and equipment, and e-commerce is expanding the sales channels of agricultural products.

The wide application of digital technologies has constantly enriched the forms of rural industries and helped form relevant industrial clusters, bringing new opportunities to rural revitalization.

High-quality development of rural public services can narrow the urban-rural gaps.

Over recent years, focusing on rural social security and employment services, information services for special groups in rural areas and rural inclusive financial services, China has achieved fruitful results in the digitalization of rural public services.

For instance, with regard to the integration of medical and elderly care, many regions across the country have introduced quality medical resources in urban areas to the rural areas through 5G-enabled health programs.

Digital technologies have not only improved rural public services, but also lowered the cost of extending public resources to rural areas, thus providing new approaches to the equalization of public services in rural and urban areas.

Digital technologies, featuring precision and quick response, are able to make rural governance more science-based.

For instance, Yubei district in southwest China’s Chongqing municipality has integrated data on primary-level Party building, industry, rural tourism and villagers’ information, and built intelligent governance platforms in villages, thus making it easier for residents to enjoy government services.

Deqing county in east China’s Zhejiang province has built a map of digital villages that collects 282 types of basic data from 58 local departments. All 137 administrative villages in the county have shared their data with a “city brain,” which automatically generates data reports and trend analyses for relevant departments to guide the industrial development of villages in a more targeted manner.

These practices prove that digital technologies can make rural governance significantly more efficient and targeted, and constantly modernize rural governance, so as to bring “digital dividends” to more rural residents.


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