Since ancient times China has been an agricultural country, with both huge demand for and large-scale production of a wide range of agricultural products, writes Shuqing Chen at Synced. China’s per capita arable land area however is far less than the world average, and the quality of superior arable land is relatively small. According to figures from the World Bank and the National Bureau of Statistics, in 2016, China’s cultivated land area was 135 million hectares, accounting for 8% of the world’s total cultivated land; while the total population was 1.38 billion, accounting for 19% of the world population. Also, the farmland quality rate is low, which affects food production and the quality of agricultural products. Moreover, China’s agricultural sector is often seriously affected by natural disasters — causing average annual crop damage of nearly 20,000 hectares and grain production losses of 30-40 billion kilograms. This has motivated China to continuously develop new agricultural technologies.
In recent years frontier technologies such as AI, big data, IoT, and 3S technology (RS remote sensing technology, GIS geographic information systems, and GPS global positioning systems), have been aggressively deployed to accelerate the modernization of Chinese agriculture. These new technologies are being applied mainly in planting, animal husbandry, and agricultural services.