The Impacts of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on Farming in Miyun County, China

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Li, Dingfei
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University of Guelph

It is well known that agriculture is an essential industry for both developed and developing countries in the world, especially for developing countries to satisfy people’s basic food and clothing issues. However, in general agricultural development is relatively underdeveloped compared with other industries in most developing countries because farmers often adopt conventional farming methods and the Governments often ignore the role of agricultural development for national economy. A case study was conducted of poor Chinese farmers, where the government provided one-to-one information and communication technology (ICT) approach in a pilot project for those farmers to change their conventional farming methods and access new social media in Miyun County. The epistemological approach of the study was Grounded theory of analysis findings. Key informant interviews and semi-structured interview method were used to interview 71 participants at the policy proponent, agricultural technician and farmer levels. Feedback was also obtained about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the ICT program, as identified by a focus group approach. The implications for the ICT project in Miyun County include the improvement of capacity development, economic benefits, and social networks. Obstacles preventing ICT development include outdated policies including the lack of a free market and individual ownership of land as well as Hukou system (a population registration system in China) for controlling internal migration and insufficient infrastructure development and integration of social resources.

This program is one of the first research studies that connects ICTs with land policy. The ICT program is a new farming approach for Chinese agriculture. It is the first to consider small/individual farmers’ farming abilities in China’s rural areas. There was no precedent for the government to provide smart phones or laptops to help every farmer at the grassroots level.
information and communication technologies, farming, Miyun County, China