As larger farms are built across China, more technology is needed to get involved. China’s largest agricultural drone maker, XAG Technologies, expects sales of its products to double next year. Nie Qin, co-founder of XAG Technology, which is based in Guangzhou, said in an interview that its sales of drones in the domestic market are expected to increase from 25,000 this year to 50,000 by 2020. Agricultural drones are mainly used for sowing, fertilizing and spraying pesticides.
Photo from the Polar-Flying Technology website
“More and more farmers are turning their small plots of land into big farms, ” he said. “This makes drones more popular. “
To improve the efficiency of food production, China is encouraging smallholder farmers, who make up the majority of the rural population, to integrate and become part of large collective farms.
“We’ve seen a lot of younger generations leave the countryside to go to the cities, ” says Mr Yan. ” “
It has also introduced a self-driving utility vehicle that is about 20 percent cheaper than a drone and plans to expand into rural areas, making it easy for smallholder farmers to learn how to use these vehicles. Peng Bin, the company’s chief executive, said the utility vehicle could be used in orchards and farmland in northern China, where the terrain is relatively flat.
At the company’s Smart Agriculture conference in Beijing last week, Mr Peng said the utility vehicle was also more likely to enter overseas markets, so sales in overseas markets were likely to increase.
China’s subsidies to farmers who buy XAG technology products will also boost sales, mr. Nguyen said. Subsidies account for about a third of the price of drones and utility vehicles, he said.