Feb 25, 2021 (China Knowledge) - Giant E-Commerce firms Alibaba and Pinduoduo are attempting to revamp the long-standing agricultural practices to increase their online grocery businesses. This is in line with the government’s stance to improve the self-sufficiency of food in China to avert a food shortage in times of natural disaster or pandemic. This would mean to tackle China’s 200 mln small scale farms operations.
Their joint effort could help growers boost production, improve food quality and lower prices. This would also help them gain market share in the online grocery business, which has untapped potential and is expected to be a USD 120 bln business by 2030. The online groceries market overtook the consumer electronics as the biggest contributor to JD.com.
Alibaba will focus on providing chicken farmers with health bracelets for the chickens to track their well-being and growth development. JD.com, on the other hand, will guide rice growers to track the irrigation system of their crops with the aid of smart sensors. Pinduoduo is said to use artificial intelligence to aid in the automation of strawberry planting.
Due to globalization, rural youths are moving to cities for higher-paying jobs, leaving the agriculture to fend for itself. Food safety is also threatened by pesticides and outdated farming methods.
New technologies can be aided by 5G to increase the output of the farm’s production. These smart farm projects are subsidised by the government, with subsidies of up to 50%. Among all, fresh fruits and vegetables are the most labour intensive, with a third of the farm workers aged 55 and older.
The effects of technology infused farming processes are evident, with peach farmers increasing revenue by 50% and chicken farms expanding production without hiring more workers, thus increasing the average salary of his village.
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