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China's Agri-tech Industry is Booming Thanks to Artificial Intelligence
The agriculture sector in China is now at a juncture wherein specific changes have become inevitable. The nation looks forward to incorporating AI to bring in these changes and drive agri-tech growth.
Fremont, CA: China’s electronics and technology industry continues to have a profound impact on the global economy. The nation pioneered the revolution of technologies like e-wallets and consumer tech. Of late, other areas of technology are being explored, and a technology-driven agricultural industry is booming in China. Similar to a number of other nations, at the center of this revolution is artificial intelligence (AI).
AI-powered agricultural revolution in China witnessed a rather slow-paced development. Many farmers were initially apprehensive about a new technology taking over tasks that have been done manually for ages. Yet, they were convinced with initial trials, and the Chinese agri-tech industry is likely to bring in AI to all segments in the agriculture industry.
However, a complete takeover is yet to happen, as only about five percent of Chinese farmlands employ drones. The scenario is certainly in for a change if we go by a report from consultancy iiMedia Research, which predicts that by 2015 the total sales of forestry/agricultural drones would be worth $2.9 billion in China.
Why AI Becomes Inevitable to China?
It is estimated that many rural agricultural farms which are still more or less reliant on traditional or manual methods may soon run out of the workforce as many of the workers are getting old and the young generation lacks intense interest in agriculture-related employment. Bringing in automation through AI is critical here. Also, it is believed that integration with technology may make agriculture a viable, respectable, and high-growth employment option for youngsters.
In addition, China is trying to ensure a zero-growth in pesticide use by 2020. AI seems inevitable in achieving this. Drones spraying pesticides across farm fields has become a common sight in some parts of the nation. For instance, an active agri-tech firm in China, XAG, through the UAS plant protection services has been able to save about 1.4 million tons of agricultural water. This was done on over 6 million hectares of agricultural land.
Moreover, XAG has been successfully leveraging AI for continually monitoring and sorting large volumes of information on crop management, weather, soil analysis, and so on. The firm relies on AI-powered algorithms that are automatically designed and optimized for arriving at precise decisions on say, plant diseases, impending natural disasters, yield-demand ratio, etc. besides many others.
XAG has also been aware of the ongoing decline in bee population. Due to human activities and neglect, there is an ongoing pollination crisis which can ultimately affect the global food supply chain and biodiversity in ecosystems. XAG has developed intelligent agri-tech solutions to rectify the gap in pollination demand and presence, and in turn save the bee colony from extinction.