Scaling up from Village to County/Province Level to Support Science & Technology  Backyard (STB) Programme for Innovation of Chinese Household-Based Small Farms   


UK Partners: Jinchang Ren, University of Strathclyde; Dr Vijay K Vohora, Mapping Earth Resources Ltd; Jason Lim, Rothamsted Research

Chinese Partners: Weifeng Zhang, Chinese Agriculture University; Prof Zhongxin Chen, Institute of Agriculture resources & regional planning (IARRP), Chinese Academy of Agriculture Science (CAAS); Dr Xinying Xu, Taiyuan University of Technology 

Project Summary: 

Household-based small farms (HBSF) contribute to 96% of agriculture workers in China,  24% of the population. Suffering from low productivity, low efficiency and lack of knowledge/technology for sustainable development, especially in coping with limited resources and environmental issues, aging and poorly-educated HBSFs have become a critical problem in China. In recent years, the Science and Technology at Backyard (STB) programme was proposed to support HBSFs to gain technology inputs from universities and research institutes. Though successful in increasing the yield, the migration of STB from villages to higher county/province level is constrained, due mainly to the low-level automation and huge labours requested.

Taking STBs in Laoling City and Yangxin County of Shandong Province as case studies, we aim to demonstrate feasible solutions for scaling up village-based STBs to upper level. By introducing remote sensing data and mapping to in-situ observations, associations are established to guide the operations at different stages to significantly reduce the labour cost for data acquisition for automatic estimation of population and yield. Also an audio-call based interface will be introduced in local dialects for more effective communication with HBSFs to fulfil the recommended operations.