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Tianfu Agriculture Information Network
Institution: Sichuan Branch of China United Telecommunications Corporation
Theme: Knowledge Management in Government, Institution and HR Management
Implementation Date: Oct 07, 2005
Summary: One of the major issues facing the province of Sichuan was that over 25 per cent of its yearly produce had to be dumped in the fields and/or wasted because the produce was not being sold in time. In addition, farmers had to deal with outdated seeds, expired fertilizers and contagious diseases because they did not have timely access to the relevant information. The implementation of the Tianfu Agriculture Information Network alleviates the impact of these problems by providing accurate information for better decision-making by the farmers.

The Tianfu Agriculture Information Network is a large integrated network application system for the agricultural community that was designed and built by the Sichuan Branch of China United Telecommunications Corporation, which also manages it. It includes a mobile network, a fixed line phone network, the Internet, an information collection and handling system, an information release system, a call centre and expert hotlines.

Through the use of multimedia content, the voice and data networks, the call centre and hotline support, the system bridges communication gaps between people in poor areas and the rest of the world. The project integrates contents of related agricultural web sites all over the world, providing timely agriculture-related information on technology, business, trade, medical treatment and sanitation, law, disaster prevention and reduction, etc. Through an associated call centre and expert hotlines, it provides users with professional consultations on specific issues.

The system covers 90 per cent of the population and 70 per cent of the total area of Sichuan province in western China. This platform and innovative business model are now serving over 600,000 users, including more than ten minority groups such as the Tibetan and the Yi.
Impact: The Tianfu Agriculture Information Network was established in order to reduce the digital divide in poor areas of western China, where more than ten minority groups live. It helps farmers to access relevant knowledge and information, such as agricultural weather messages, farm-produce supply information and the status of demand.

The network has enabled farmers, who have little or no formal education or experience with information technology, to access time-sensitive information. The number of network subscribers has increased by 80,000 per month on average and over 200 million messages have been sent through the network since its inauguration. Almost three million farmers have benefited directly from these messages, with their living standard notably improved. The network has proven that appropriate technology can be used to benefit people in poor and/or underdeveloped areas.
Source: China United Telecommunications Corporation
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