Smart agriculture will play an increasingly important role in promoting the industry’s sustainability, according to statements by leading experts during a webinar organized by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Chinese technology firm Pinduoduo.
“Green development needs smart agriculture,” said Professor Li Daoliang, Director General of the International College of China Agricultural University. He pointed out that smart agricultural practices use precision methods that reduce waste.
Li and other experts were speaking at a webinar held jointly by the FAO and Pinduoduo, China’s largest agriculture platform, on the role of digital technology in agricultural modernization. Representatives from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and finalists in a smart greenhouse challenge organized by Pinduoduo also presented at the webinar.
Xu Dan, 34, whose team is in the finals of the annual Smart Agriculture Competition held in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan, demonstrated a “human-machine fusion intelligence” model that combines extensive cultivation experience with advanced computing in plant growing.
The competition challenged participating teams to take a multidisciplinary approach to maximize agricultural output for smallholder farmers while, balancing cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability.
“Technology can bring real benefits to farmers and by extension to society at large,” said Carlos Watson, FAO representative to China. “FAO is a big supporter of initiatives to promote smart agriculture as it can boost food security and safety.”
FAO and Pinduoduo have collaborated on several initiatives to foster agricultural innovation in China.
For instance, FAO is providing technical guidance to the Smart Agriculture Competition, which was hosted by Pinduoduo with support from China Agricultural University, Zhejiang University and Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands.
FAO also partnered with Zhejiang University and Pinduoduo to facilitate youth-led innovations in agriculture through its Global Agrilnno Challenge, with the goal of harnessing innovation, entrepreneurship and digital technologies to accelerate rural digital transformation.