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Impact of smartphone use on farmers' conservation agricultural practices

By IARRP | Updated: 2022-09-13

Based on the realistic background of the degradation of ecological environment of paddy fields in the southern rice area, the Innovation Team of Resources Utilization and Regional Planning of Agriculture explained the practical necessity of transforming the traditional rice-winter idle farming mode into a rice-green manure rotation system (RGRS). They discussed the effect and path of farmers' smartphone use on the adoption of RGRS under the digital rural development scenario.

The related research results were published in the environmental science academic journal Science of the Total Environment under the title of "The influence of smartphone use on conservation agricultural practice: Evidence from the extension of rice-green manure rotation system in China".

According to researcher Yin Changbin, planting green manure in paddy fields has obvious effects on reducing fertilizer application, increasing soil organic matter, improving fertility, blocking soil erosion, and optimizing food systems. There are a large number of winter idle fields in the rice areas in southern China, making full use of the winter idle windows to plant green manure and guide the majority of producers to adopt RGRS, which is of great practical significance for promoting the protection and improvement of regional cultivated land quality.

This study revealed the impact of farmers’ smartphone use on their adoption of RGRS by developing a highly integrated theoretical analytical model. Specifically, based on a sample set of 934 respondents from three provinces of Anhui, Guangxi and Hunan, the PLS-SEM model with bootstrapping was used to simulate and estimate the relevant causal chain.

The study found that smartphone use intensified farmers' perceived threat of environmental degradation.Further, the perceived threat of environmental degradation and the perception of ecosystem service value jointly play a chain mediating role between smartphone use and farmers' behavior. This means that RGRS adoption behavior of farmers can be effectively improved by importing information related to agro-environmental degradation and RGRS ecosystem services into the smartphone APP commonly used by farmers. These results can help policymakers better understand the contribution of smartphone use to conservation and informed policy support.

The research was co-funded by the National Social Science Foundation Major Project (18ZDA048), the National Modern Agricultural Industrial Technology System-Green Manure (CARS-22), and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation General Project (2021M693446). The "Science of the Total Environment" is a TOP journal in the first district of JCR in the field of environmental science, with the latest impact factor IF=10.753.

Paper link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048969721076336