2019 March 28, Thailand - The Sixth Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) hosted by United Nation (UN) recently took place in Bangkok, Thailand. XAG attended the forum section on Empowering Smallholders through Agricultural Mechanization in the Digital Era, Vice President Justin Gong addressed XAG’s innovation regarding the topic.
In Asia-Pacific region, smallholders remains a fundamental actor in agricultural sector. According to UN statistics, around 90% of the small farms are in this region with the average size of land holding being only 10 ha. What’s more, many of the farms are divided into small plots and scattered in the area.
Therefore, the APFSD brought together speakers from regional governments, farmers, and private sector to address the problems. The section on Empowering Smallholders aimed to exchange ideas about how innovative solutions can help smallholders overcome limitations.
“XAG provide flexible scale and easy to use agricultural tech devices as a way to empower younger generation of the rural population. By doing so, young rural people become willing to return to their hometown and take up tech-savvy occupations as agriculture drone operators, farm data collectors, crop data analysts etc., which rejuvenates the rural society.” Justin Gong pointed out that such improvement is aligned with SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth). “Later on the young generations start to teach their parents to adopt to the new technologies, which then pushes the development of the whole rural region.”
“Farmers in remote areas of China, who are usually more vulnerable under natural disaster, are more open-minded to tech innovations. Because of the underdevelopment in agriculture mechanization and open-minded farmers, these remote areas become great places to implement the latest tech infrastructure.”
Justin Gong believes that tech infrastructure, rather than individual large or small machineries, should be put in place beforehand in agriculture, that is what helps the smallholders being in an equal standpoint to participate in the economy. “We develop tech infrastructure such as RTK precision positioning network, field mapping and cloud computing for the rural area in China. With precise field size and crop growth data, even the smallest holder owning a plot in irregular shape can now get accordant financial support which was not possible in the past.”
The section opened up active discussions between the speakers and audiences. The section moderator Dr.Yutong Li encouraged participants to raise wider public awareness of empowering smallholders in agriculture and work on provide means to respond to the issues hampering agricultural production nowadays.