With the help of artificial intelligence and blockchain, traditional agriculture bids farewell to “rely on the sky for food”
With the help of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and big data, the traditional agricultural production method of “feeding on the sky” is quietly changing, and all regions are actively exploring the development of smart agriculture. Different from the digital “single point” attempt in underdeveloped agricultural areas, in Suzhou, Anhui, a major agricultural city in the east, the seeds of smart agriculture have taken root in multiple links such as agricultural production, product sales, and financing for agricultural enterprises. Plastic. What is the difference between modern agriculture equipped with “smart brain”? When the granary is planted with blockchain and big data, when digitization penetrates into all aspects of the agricultural industry, what benefits can it bring to enterprises and farmers?
The comprehensive promotion of rural revitalization is inseparable from the modernization of agriculture. With the help of science and technology, traditional agriculture equipped with a “smart brain” is given new vitality. What does “smart” modern agriculture look like? What changes can it bring to agricultural production, sales of agricultural products, and financing of agricultural enterprises, and what benefits can it bring to farmers?
In Suzhou City, an agricultural city in Anhui Province, traditional agricultural leading industries such as grain, fruits and vegetables, breeding, and agricultural products processing are transforming and upgrading to smart agriculture. New models of digital agriculture are emerging.
How to produce: smart equipment improves efficiency
Intelligent equipment is a key element to improve agricultural production efficiency. For example, the amount of water and fertilizer required to produce a certain type of wheat was previously relied on human eyes and artificial estimation. Now the soil moisture meter can provide the required amount of water and fertilizer regularly and quantitatively, and automatically adjust it through the intelligent water and fertilizer integrated system. Another example is that diseases will be encountered in the production process of vegetables. In the past, the crops were affected by the disease to confirm and prevent them. Now, through the big data such as temperature and soil moisture provided by the Internet of Things equipment, the occurrence of diseases can be intelligently judged by comparing the data of previous years. Therefore, targeted measures can be taken to reduce losses by taking precautions.
In Suzhou, Anhui, the digital agricultural production scene where smart equipment is showing their talents is impressive. Entering the National Modern Agricultural Industrial Park in Yongqiao District, the 600-mu high-standard demonstration base of Anhui Agricultural University’s Wanbei Comprehensive Experimental Station attracted the attention of reporters. The demonstration base includes eight functional areas, including the green agricultural technology innovation experimental area, the agricultural ecological grass and animal husbandry experimental area, and the food crop green production-increasing model innovation experimental area.
Next to the cornfield, a device with an “arm” is eye-catching. There are wheels on both ends of the device and a row of drain pipes hung on the “arm”. “This is a self-propelled sprinkler system that can operate automatically and sprinkle water while walking.” Lu Qiushi, deputy station director of the Wanbei Comprehensive Experimental Station of Anhui Agricultural University, told reporters. Later, Lu Qiushi took the reporter to the irrigation pumping station. The reporter saw that next to an automatic pumping machine, three plastic tanks with the words “nitrogen”, “phosphorus” and “potassium” were filled with fertilizers of different compositions. On the water pipe. Lv Qiushi introduced to reporters that this is a newly developed intelligent water and fertilizer integrated system for field crops. The system uses field crops as irrigation and fertilization objects, and lays a fixed pipe network and sprinkler irrigation system in the field. It can be automatically controlled when you use it, how much water you use, how much fertilizer you use, and what kinds of fertilizers you use. It can realize the integrated application of water and fertilizer anytime, anywhere, and at will, greatly saving production costs and improving water and fertilizer utilization.
“The service life of the pipeline is more than 20 years, and the annual use cost is only 130 yuan per mu, and it does not affect the mechanical operations such as farming, sowing, and harvesting.” Appointment, real-time operation. The system is also connected to the sensor devices in the field, which can obtain real-time soil moisture and fertilizer element status, combined with comprehensive decision-making of crop species and growth period, to achieve intelligent precise irrigation and fertilization.
The intelligent irrigation system mentioned by Lu Qiushi is not just the result of experimental fields. In the 1,500-mu “No. 1 Pear Orchard” of Dangshan County Horticulture Farm, such technology has become an important part of the smart agricultural production process: Internet of Things equipment provides real-time agricultural production management services for the pear orchard-the control center can monitor and analyze 24 hours a day The growth environment of pear trees in the farm, such as the external environment conditions such as weather, humidity, and soil.
“It used to be such a big pear orchard. It took several people to water and fertilize every day.” Now with the intelligent water and fertilizer integration system, the task can be completed with the touch of a mobile phone with a finger. Xu Jie, director of Alibaba Cloud’s digital agriculture industry, told reporters that there is a “farm weather station” in “Pear Orchard No. 1” that can monitor the wind, wind direction, sunlight, rainfall, and carbon dioxide content of the orchard in real time, and the data will be sent back to the platform. Xu Jie said that these data will be fed back to the managers of the orchard to provide decision-making assistance for agricultural production.
The reporter learned that “No. 1 Pear Garden” is one of the innovative projects created by Dangshan County through the joint efforts of government and enterprises. In October last year, Dangshan County was selected as a national digital village pilot area. Earlier this year, Dangshan County reached a cooperation with Alibaba Cloud to use digital technologies such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence to carry out the construction of a “digital orchard”. At present, “No. 1 Pear Garden” has basically realized digital production and has become a benchmark project for local smart agricultural production.
How to sell: Blockchain becomes a new farm tool
Traditional agricultural production basically depends on the weather, and the sales of agricultural products are restricted by the market and channels. The prices of high-quality products are often affected by market conditions. Problems such as “difficult to sell” and “cheap selling” have always plagued farmers. With the help of new formats such as live broadcast e-commerce, the difficult situation of agricultural product sales has been greatly changed. During an interview in Dangshan County, the reporter found that the characteristic and high-quality agricultural products here are sold across the country through e-commerce channels, and the income of farmers has increased steadily than before. In recent years, new e-commerce sales methods such as live webcasts have begun to be promoted and popularized in rural areas, and a large number of capable people who rely on e-commerce to bring goods to promote the development of modern industries in rural areas have also emerged in Dangshan County.
Agriculture and the Internet, two words that were rarely linked in the past, now collide more with each other. Statistics show that at present, there are more than 2,000 e-commerce companies in Dangshan County, more than 60,000 online shops and micro-businesses, annual online sales of agricultural products exceeding 6 billion yuan, and 150,000 people engaged in e-commerce logistics and other related industries. Especially in the fields of live broadcast economy, e-commerce marketing, supply chain services, and digital agriculture, new models and formats of high-quality development are gradually taking shape, guiding and stimulating new kinetic energy for all people to reach the Internet, start businesses, and flourish.
The emergence of a large number of online agricultural product sales groups benefited from the guidance of national policies and the support of local governments on the one hand, and the sinking power of e-commerce platform companies on the other. Since 2015, Dangshan County has seized the opportunity of the country’s second batch of e-commerce to enter rural comprehensive demonstration counties, relying on the advantages of fruit resources, improving development planning, speeding up personnel training, and promoting the development of rural e-commerce, building three counties, towns and villages. Level-level e-commerce service centers have established 109 village-level e-commerce integrated service points and convenience outlets. In the past two years, Dangshan County has successively issued a series of policy documents such as the “2019 Comprehensive Demonstration Implementation Plan for E-commerce Entering Rural Areas” and “Notice on Promoting Full Coverage of E-commerce in Rural Areas” and other policy documents to improve and improve a series of supporting policies for rural e-commerce talent entrepreneurship , Provide incentives, subsidies, discount loans and other policies and financial support for e-commerce in rural areas, brand promotion, talent cultivation, and construction of agricultural product standardization system. Set up a 5 million yuan e-commerce financing risk compensation fund to support the development of rural e-commerce enterprises in the initial stage. Strengthen the cultivation and reward of rural e-commerce enterprises and e-commerce brands, and the reward funds will be used for the optimization and improvement of demonstration towns and demonstration villages, including construction and operation, brand building promotion, online sales of rural products, e-commerce training, e-commerce benefit linkage mechanism construction, Development planning research, etc.
Active e-commerce has opened up sales channels for famous and special agricultural products such as Dangshan pear, and has also expanded the influence of local agricultural products brands. However, due to the difficulty in identifying the specific origin of the local products, the “Lee Ghosts” who counterfeit the origin on the Internet have also come to catch up on the popularity, resulting in some local high-quality products not selling at a higher price. In order to solve the headache of counterfeiting, in September 2020, the Dangshan County Government cooperated with Ant Group to build a blockchain platform to realize the traceability of characteristic agricultural products from production to sales.
Huang Hua, a senior product expert in the Intelligent Technology Business Group of Ant Group, introduced in an interview, “Relevant technical personnel have launched the’Ant Chain’ by integrating technologies such as the Internet of Things, the Internet, and the blockchain to achieve the goal of organizing production and purchasing agricultural materials. With fine-grained traceability and other links, the collected data includes field planting and breeding, agricultural activity records, and core indicators of the physical environment such as soil, moisture, nitrogen and oxygen, so as to lay the foundation for quality certification of subsequent agricultural products on the market.”
“If agricultural products enter the downstream processing link, the’Ant Chain’ will also upload the core process links in the production process, such as time length, temperature, and operator records, to the chain for storage through the transformation of the processing assembly line and the production line of the Internet of Things. Proof. Consumers can know these data at any time by “scanning” on their mobile phones.” Huang Hua said.
In September last year, Zhai Cancan, the person in charge of Dangshan’s local brand “Tuguo Stove”, took the lead on the chain and became the first group of people to eat crabs. She told reporters that around 2015 she sold pear and pear paste products through e-commerce. However, due to factors such as low brand awareness, her product sales have been tepid. Last year, Zhai Cancan made the first batch of merchants using blockchain technology with the mentality of giving it a try, and the effect was unexpected . Due to the blockchain technology, each pear has a special “electronic ID card”, so that the entire chain of information from the growth to processing, packaging, transportation, and distribution of the pear can be traced, effectively solving the brand disorder in the market The phenomenon. Zhai Cancan’s pear and pear paste products quickly gained the favor of consumers.
“Some merchants sell pear paste mixed with water and sugar for only ten yuan a can, but we use real materials, and the price per can is more than 50 yuan.” Zhai Cancan told reporters, “previously boiled pear paste is expensive and consumes more money. Consumers hesitate to place an order. Now that with blockchain technology, consumers can find the real production and processing information by scanning the code, and they have no worries when buying. The blockchain has become our’new farm tool’. “
Also tasted the sweetness of blockchain is Wang Xiaohui, general manager of Dangshan Wujiawu Village Agricultural Development Co., Ltd., who told reporters that the traceability system of “Ant Chain” increases the trust between merchants and customers, and its traceability certification provides consumers with The sales link information of the origin, production date, logistics, and inspection of Dangshan genuine crisp pears, and this information has the characteristics of permanent traceability and difficult to tamper with, which helps customers distinguish between counterfeit products and genuine products. With the “blessing” of blockchain technology, the “past and present” of pears are clear at a glance, and the value has also been recognized by the market. “Most of the pears we sell are purchased from fruit farmers. At the lowest price, 1 catty of pears only sells for a few yuan, and now 5 catties of pears can sell for 88 yuan, and the fruit farmers’ pockets are even bigger.” Wang Xiaohui said.
How to finance: a little mobile phone can loan
In addition to “production” and “sales”, finance is also an important tool to promote the intensification, scale up, and efficiency of agricultural production. With the advancement of agricultural digitization, digital finance has also begun to get rid of the traditional rural financial “rely on mortgage” and “rely on guarantee” model to provide more convenient and effective services for modern agriculture.
In the early days of entrepreneurship, Wang Xiaohui’s company has been operating at a loss. “Last year the number of corporate orders dropped sharply, and hundreds of thousands of catties of pears were backlogged in warehouses. They were half rotten after seven or eight days. The company lost more than 100,000 yuan in a month.” Wang Xiaohui said, “If you can’t raise funds, it will be difficult for companies to support them. Go down.”
The purchase, production, and processing of fruits require a large amount of capital turnover. Enterprises have a strong demand for finance. However, due to the lack of collateral and unstable production and operation conditions, “borrowing money” has become the most difficult problem facing Wang Xiaohui. Faced with this problem, the staff of the Dangshan County Bureau of Commerce guided him to join the “Ant Business Flow Chain.” Through the company’s transaction data provided by blockchain technology, the bank can have a clearer grasp of Wang Xiaohui’s production, supply and marketing situation, and obtained a “passport” for them from financial institutions. Subsequently, Wang Xiaohui received the first bank loan-a 300,000 yuan credit loan provided by the local Agricultural Bank. This year, the Internet Commercial Bank also gave him a one-year interest-free loan of 300,000 yuan. “The loan procedures can basically be completed through a mobile phone, which is very convenient.” Wang Xiaohui said, with the bank’s loan records and credit base, I believe that the amount of company loans will gradually increase in the future.
“Traditional rural finance has problems of high costs and asymmetric information. Many farmers need loans and financial support, but they lack effective collateral.” According to Chen Hao, business director of the Rural Finance Department of the Internet Commercial Bank, these pain points can be measured by numbers. Technology to overcome. By combining the public information reflecting credit and management such as land right confirmation and agricultural subsidies in the county, the technology bank represented by the Internet business bank has established an exclusive credit model for the agricultural county, so that each mobile phone of the farmer household becomes a bank branch, which is convenient They get credit loans.
” The role of blockchain technology in the agricultural field is not only to allow consumers to understand the products in depth, but also to allow financial institutions to fully understand the operators. ” Huang Hua told reporters that this not only effectively reduces the problem of information asymmetry in the agricultural industry chain, but also At the same time, it also reduces the cost of borrowing trust among the various subjects of traditional agriculture. Financial institutions lend funds to enterprises and farmers in real need, accelerating capital investment in agricultural and rural areas.
The reporter learned that since Dangshan County launched in-depth cooperation with Internet Commercial Bank in 2019, more than 210,000 farmers in the county have received more than 3.4 billion yuan in agriculture-related loans. At present, the Internet Commercial Bank has signed agreements with six cities in Anhui, Hefei, Chuzhou, Suzhou, Tongling, Ma’anshan, and Chizhou. With the help of “Internet + data technology”, it has established a regional exclusive database and a credit model with industry characteristics to provide a large number of farmers and individual merchants. Provide guarantee-free, unsecured credit loans with small and micro enterprises, with the amount ranging from 1,000 yuan to 300,000 yuan.
Lu Peng, director of the Economic and Sociology Research Office of the Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes that Dangshan County, empowered by blockchain technology, uses digital technology to activate a “trust chain” from production to sales. Production and sales through the “ant chain” provide information assurance for high-quality agricultural products, enhance consumer trust, and make farmers’ credit well-documented, bringing them more loans, allowing them to expand production and resist Risks have stronger confidence and firm belief in further integration into the wave of digital economy. Behind this “trust chain” is the activation and reorganization of production factors by information and digital technology, which has a strong inspirational significance for how to better improve the competitiveness and recognition of local products in the construction of digital villages.
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