Pinduoduo, China’s largest agricultural e-commerce platform, signed a strategic partnership with the National Engineering Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture (NERCITA) on Oct. 18 to develop smart agriculture solutions and alleviate rural poverty.
Under the agreement, both parties will explore advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G as part of a push for precision farming and build a smart agriculture innovation center to develop data-driven production and boost sales through brand-building.
Pinduoduo and NERCITA have worked together on projects to standardize production and increase sales in poverty-stricken counties.
One such project in Yunnan’s Nujiang Lisu autonomous prefecture employs an automatic irrigation system and sensing equipment to raise agricultural production and reduce the amount of human labor involved. The application of agriculture technology cut the amount of pesticide use. According to local farmers, it now takes 16 months for the trees to bear fruit, down from three to four years previously.
Like many countries, China faces a dwindling and aging farming workforce as young people choose to work in the cities. Most farms are small, making it harder to standardize growing practices and achieve economies of scale.
To help unleash the potential of China’s vast agriculture resources, Pinduoduo has made it a strategic priority to increase the digitization of the agriculture value chain. Agriculture analytics can give farmers visibility into demand and inform their planting decisions. Precision farming using robotics, sensors, and greenhouse technology can reduce diseases and cut labor and production costs.
Pinduoduo has predicted its annual GMV from agricultural produce and related goods will surpass 1 trillion yuan in five years, up from136.4 billion yuan in 2019.