- Nov 08, 2019
JD.com Helps Farms Go Digital to Bring Safer, Healthier Food to Chinese Customers
While China is the world’s largest agricultural economy, the country feeds 22% of the world population on just 7% of the planet’s arable land. Through its JD Farm initiative, JD.com is using innovative logistics technology to take the industry to the next level, providing healthy, high quality options to consumers, while preserving natural resources and helping local farmers around the country improve their living standards.
JD Farm addresses several pain points traditionally faced by the agricultural industry. For one, customers in China are increasingly demanding safer, better quality food. At the same time, farmers are pressured to maximize the yield they can get from limited land resources to generate more profit. This can lead to the overuse of harmful chemical fertilizers and other agents, in turn affecting the quality of the food and greatly harming the environment.
JD Farm implements JD’s sophisticated technology, including IoT, AI and blockchain in order to help farmers digitize their business and adopt a more data driven approach to farming, which in turn ensures consistency, accuracy, and efficiency of produce. For example, IoT devices such as sensors and cameras connected to a central system positioned across the farm can monitor any issues, including pests or disease agents, and alert farmers to take action. It can also help to provide guidance on the optimum amount of fertilizer to use.
Naturally, farms participating in the initiative further benefit from JD’s status as China’s largest retailer, gaining access to JD’s expertise in marketing and sales channel selection, as well as JD’s unrivaled self-built nationwide logistics network. At the same time, JD’s IoT, big data, and blockchain technology enables customers on the JD platform traceability of the fresh produce, which serves as a greater incentive for shoppers to buy the locally sourced food products.
Another challenge is the standardization of processes in agriculture. But this is essential to ensure the consistent, high quality products that JD customers are used to. To this end, JD is helping to establish new agricultural management standards in partnership with some the field’s leading academic institutions, such as China Agricultural University, Northwest A&F University, South China Agricultural University and Heilongjiang Bayi Agricultural University. JD will also provide training sessions to farmers and help them apply smart farming standards to their business.
The better quality crops resulting from the application of JD’s technology can be sold online through JD’s platform, significantly benefitting local farms. So far, JD has already set up 17 smart agriculture projects in partnership with farms across China, setting new standards of efficiency in Chinese agriculture. A peach farm in Shandong province and a pear farm in Hebei province were able to increase their average prices by 30% to 50% as compared to previous offline sales. The pear and peach farms have already sold a total of more than 32.5 tons of fruit since launching on JD.com in late August and late September respectively, and the peaches are already completely sold out.
“The rollout of these cutting-edge initiatives at the forefront of smart agricultural technology is a game changer not just for participating farmers or customers on the JD platform, but the Chinese agricultural industry as a whole,” said Zhiwei Qiao, Head of JD Farm. “The end result is that farmers can now adopt a more viable business model, while consumers have access to more nutritious, safer produce. At JD.com, we always put customers at the center of our business. We are revolutionizing entire food production process and providing comprehensive, superior service at every step, from the farm, to the eventual delivery of high quality food to our customers’ dining tables. “