MARA Signs a Cooperation Agreement with Tencent and China Telecom on Practicing Digital Rural Governance
by Lea Siebert
Prof. Liu Yonggong
Advisor of Agribusiness Dialogue (DCZ)
8 April 2020
As a follow up action to implement the rural governance strategy promulgated in China’s 2020 No.1 Document, on 2 April, the Department of Rural Cooperative Economy, Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), signed a cooperation framework agreement with Tencent Co., LTD and China Telecom Group to expand the application of information technologies and “Internet+” in rural areas. The cooperation will focus on improving the level of informatization, digitalization, intelligence in rural governance, and promoting the construction of a digitalized and highly efficient rural governance system.
According to the cooperation framework agreement, all parties should focus on promoting digitalization of rural governance and carrying out rural governance digitalization pilot projects in MARA’s Rural Governance Reform Demonstration Areas. The cooperation will pursue to construct a national rural governance system supported by digital technologies and practices.
Tencent will launch a "Tencent for Village" program to assist rural governance, guide farmers to effectively use online communication technologies and tools and facilitate them in order to actively participate in rural governance. According to the agreement, villages in the pilot areas for the establishment of the national rural governance system can use the "Tencent for Villages" platform for free. China Telecom will support the rural digital governance system by establishing an "Integrated Village Information Service Platform” in the pilot areas with integrated service functions of party organization work, rural disaster and public emergency management, rural poverty alleviation, transparency and village governance, community social services, and featured rural community economic development, etc. It is anticipated that the information service platform will improve the farming productivity and overall livelihoods of farmers. It will also help the local government to improve its overall capacity in rural grassroots governance and enhance its rural community service competency.
According to the Department of Rural Cooperative Economy, the responsible unit for implementing the national pilot program called “Construction of the National Rural Governance System”, the implementation of the pilot program is smoothly progressing and showing applicable and practical results. Innovative and modern rural governance and services with the support of modern digital and communication technologies have been designed as important components of the pilot program. The program was launched as a ministerial initiative of MARA to implement relevant measures for the “Rural Revitalization Strategic Planning (2018-2022)” jointly pronounced by the Central Party Committee and the State Council in September 2018. In the national planning document, promoting the development and application of digital and smart agriculture technologies in the whole value chain, promoting e-commerce systems for marketing agricultural products, rural informatization and digitalization for rural community governance and community social services are all highlighted as key measures for rural revitalization in China. The signing of the strategic cooperation agreement is marked as the first step to engage e-commerce and telecommunication enterprises in the construction of a rural governance system.
A launching ceremony of the Digital Rural Revitalization
Program in Zhejiang Province
A rural e-commerce platform helps farmers to sell their
products in Dingxi Prefecture of Gansu Province
Smart Agriculture Platform for supporting production and
marketing of agricultural products
A digital rural development platform in China