China’s E-commerce Platform Pinduoduo Collaborates With National Research Center in Smart Agriculture

China’s e-commerce platform Pinduoduo signed a strategic cooperation agreement in smart agriculture with a national research institute on Sunday.

The agreement said the two parties will build a precision agricultural management system based on the Agricultural Internet of things, artificial intelligence, 5G and other advanced technologies.

Zhao Chunjiang, academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and chief scientist at NERCITA (the one on the right) and vice president of Pinduoduo Chen Qiu (the one on the left) unveiled the Smart Agriculture Collaborative Innovation Center. (Photo by An Shun)

Established in 2001, the National Engineering Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture (NERCITA) specializes in the research and development of agricultural and rural informatization engineering technology.

After nearly 20 years of development, the center has established significant advantages in the research and application of agricultural intelligent systems, precision agriculture, agricultural quantitative remote sensing, etc. and has become one of the main scientific agriculture research platforms in China, according to the center’s website.

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Intelligent orchard initiatives

NERCITA and Pinduoduo have carried out a series of explorations around the standardized production and large-scale sales of agricultural products in relatively poor areas.

In an orange orchard in Nujiang, Yunnan Province, there are almost no fruit farmers in the orchards deep in the canyon. The integrated irrigation system of water, fertilizer and medicine then delivers the water and fertilizer required by fruit trees to each tree.

The demonstration area has built an integrated precision agricultural condition detection system of sky, air and ground, integrating various equipment such as fruit tree environment monitoring, UAV, ground meteorological monitoring, pest monitoring, etc.

Zuo Xuefeng, the leader of the Party branch in a village in Nujiang, Yunnan province is learning to use an automatic spraying plane to spray the Pinduoduo Precision Poverty Alleviation Base. A 300-acre orange orchard can complete standardized spraying within a few days. (Photo by Mu Gong)

“In the past, we planted a tree only one meter high for three years, and some of them did not bear fruit for four or five years. But through the maintenance of this set of intelligent agricultural equipment, our trees are obviously growing much faster, growing better than the previous three or four years, and now they have fruit in 16 months,” a local fruit merchant said.

The two parties have also developed personalized courseware to cultivate new agricultural business talents. At present, the project has produced nearly 200 new farmers.

Launch of smart agriculture management platform

A smart agriculture management platform was also officially launched amid the collaboration. The platform can display the actual situation and data analysis of several demonstration bases in real time, and the platform can also carry out remote access and operation for the farms.

Dong Jing, a researcher at NERCITA, is explaining the big data platform for poverty alleviation and agriculture smart agriculture jointly developed by the team of Academician Zhao Chunjiang and Pinduoduo. (Photo by An Shun)

The platform is divided into service and display systems. The first part of the service system includes five modules, such as equipment management and basic park information, which provides strong data support for agricultural production.

The second part of the display system can accurately mark the location of each base, and through the video access system, agricultural experts can also view crop growth, analyze park data, and provide management and control scheme for managers.

Starting in 2015, Pinduoduo has always been dedicated to agriculture development in China. In the past five years, the platform’s agricultural products have maintained a compound growth of more than 100% each year. It is estimated that the scale of Pinduoduo’s agricultural products will further double to 250 billion yuan in 2020.