Technology is empowering rural workers in China, thanks to China Mobile’s Nongxintong, a paid farming information service launched four years ago in conjunction with the agricultural ministry, according to a BBC report. China Mobile runs a website, 12582.com, that sends text message information to farmers about everything from market prices to agronomic techniques.
Straining to control a deafening, bucking, fuel-powered plough, Qing Zhongxing prepares a strip of land ahead of sowing next season’s harvest of rapeseed.
Throttling down at the next turn, he pauses to check his mobile phone: it is the latest news on pork prices.
On the other side of the village, in Chongqing’s Dazu County, beekeeper Long Ximing is too engrossed in his honeycombs – and avoiding being stung – to check on his phone’s shrill alert.
Nonetheless, like Mr Qing and 20 million others in rural China, he is a big fan of mobile farming.
China Mobile’s Nong Xin Tong – or farming information service – launched four years ago. The company is currently focusing on expanding its delivery in China’s west and south-west regions.
“Building the mobile network and covering most of the country’s administrative villages, we realised that there was only a network signal. In rural areas, this is not enough,” explains Liu Jing, a local manager for the service at China Mobile.
“It’s like having a highway and no cars!”
Indeed, while most farming households in China now have mobile phones, very few have internet. So their main source for information was via television – that is, if they could be bothered to watch serious programming after a day out in the fields.
So, China Mobile created Nongxintong to deliver information and news directly to the farmer via their mobiles.