1. PROJECT BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION
As the internet technologies develops quickly in Zhejiang province, most of the counties or some of townships within the provinces now equip with basic computer and dial-up connection with local county and district government. It is estimated there have been more than 40 of agriculture-oriented web sites was established and functioned with users on agriculture production and marketing information in Zhejiang province of China. However, few web sites can provide crop management in detail and dynamic ways for decision support to farmers considering their situation on land, labours and N inputs etc. Farmers are familiar with 110 hotline which is a agriculture technology information providers on line in Zhejiang. Generally, this 110 agricultural service module and function are emerged from administrative decree that was issued from the Zhejiang Provincial Government, called "e-agriculture" and "e-agricultural technologies" projects. Minority of them are privately owned or run by joint-stock companies. Information is a few and lack of dynamic and function technologies support on special crop management and marketing especially for farmers and small farming cooperation agency. The present web service and situation can’t meet the requirement from the small farmers and farm holder for agriculture production. There is urgent need from these small cooperation group to use internet to look for the chance to increase the product technologies and meanwhile to reduce the external input or to optimise input considering economic, environment issue with effective technologies extension and support.
Because most of the counties, townships or villages are almost agricultural and rural enterprises dominated in Zhejiang province, a few application of Internet either for local governmental and political administration, or for economic and social development was established or applied. Although the so-called "e-government" project was launched in 1998, most counties or township government agencies face the problems: how to provide, maintain and guide information on marketing mechanism and agricultural production and rural areas at the county or township level?
Now this project tries to give the answers that aims to provide the dynamic and functional web based crop and vegetable system support for farmers and small cooperation agency to provide information and simulation service for their making decision on the agriculture production, we called it a “e -farm” project. We will take Fuyang, Anji County as a prototype of county with ICT serving for agriculture and rural development. In Anji and Fuyang, a county complex in northern of Zhejiang and suburban of Hangzhou city area of Zhejiang Province, China, there already have been several web sites for providing agriculture information. We will integrate our web-based tools into their websites and provide value-added use and more profitable with other ICT tools and methodologies, to produce dynamic, useful and practical solutions for the above problems.
2. PROJECT OBJECTIVES
2.1. General Objective
To create a Web based e-farm site to promote dynamic and functional simulation tools as a useful, friendly and economic technical way for farmers on internet, improving small farm production and providing agriculture decision maker with efficient and economic online services.
2.2. Specific Objectives
3. Project Beneficiaries
Project beneficiaries: state clearly which segments of the population will benefit from the research.
4. Project Sustainability
Most of the counties and districts in Zhejiang Province have formulated in 2000-2001 a five or even ten years plan to develop Communication Technologies or ICTs to promote the local economy development. There are some program and projects have been conducted in county level to build infrastructure and information service system to meet the economic and social development needs, to provide technologies and information for farmers, farm or company holders for their production. There are also some web sites in each big districts/counties which are called 110 service hotline on agricultural technologies and e-experts on line service to provide technologies instruction and training. But it is textual service and lack of the digital and mutual dynamic service on crop and vegetables growth and regulation with external inputs. According to the ICT development planning in Zhejiang Province, each county will established three web services system for local farmer and farm enterprises, which include the 110 agro-technologies hotline and web service, marketing information and web technologies training and dynamic decision-support system. The advanced networking applications, based on technologies in communication, will be established for agricultural technologies and extension at county or township level . So we believe that the web based crop and vegetables growth simulator and decision support system toolkits will be linked with other web sites or incorporated into web site to cover rural districts and towns, and be accessible to numerous Internet applications in Zhejiang by ISDN and satellite technology, as well as using firewall technology for security.
Key farmers and rural farming enterprises will be the main users on this function and will access to this site by ADSL or dial up for getting information on their situation production planning and input suggestion, nutrient balance and pest control manners even on economic and marketing information. It will be sustained by local county government support on agriculture and user’s support on detail information paying services when it is actual useful and profitable for producers.
Project methodology: state clearly, in the methodology how the general and specific project objectives will be achieved.
Review the existing web site and services for the further improvements and farmer’s requirement on internet service with low price and easy going ways. Reviewing the existing methods which is adopted to develop the similar content within Zhejiang province and China or outside China.
Contact with some experienced experts and works conducted in Zhejiang and other provinces and compare the different experiences which the problems they encountered in the activities.
Using the software for the sketch of the whole web and branch of the e-farm structure. Design and develop the software packages for crop production, N module and economic decision making manners.
Software and sub-module will be developed for online consultation through web modeling. The data, questions and decision will be given on line service for different situations. The email message will be used automatically uploaded information and description on farmer’s production.
Design and develop training module for users on first hand and given tutorial on the web modeling, decision and environmental advise on crop and vegetables production. 110 hotline and proposed telecommunication systems will be adopted effectively using the existing infrastructure for short message service and information access.
This project will be conducted as a participatory module to the development strategy of information service. Experts, technicians and all stakeholders will be mobilized to contribute their efforts or knowledge into the web construction. diverse methods such as 110 agro-technologies in the county's calling center, village's broadcasting and blackboard, field training courses, and distance learning will be incorporated into the project functions for database construction and modeling instruction.
5.1 Web based simulator and Model construction
The crop growth simulator and vegetables model will be incorporated into the web site being adapted into the real situation with modification on the different function modules inside. All these modules will include the crop development stages, photosynthesis, respiration and leaf area expansion, nitrogen modeling and water simulation model, economic and yield assessment modules etc. The original models was written in VB and it will converted into VB script (ASP developed language) and other computer languages. The original model was developed and tested for more than 8 years in our research and demonstration trial within Zhejiang province. We had developed the crop(rice, corn and wheat) model, N-Module and water balance module in paddy field and well drainage soil conditions.
5.2 The Web based crop simulation and decision support on Internet:
E-Crop management SimuSystem
The core technology to aid the performance of the web based model is the Internet SimuSystem. Agro-ecology Institute of Zhejiang University will use the methods with which we are familiar from our research experiences on modeling project started from 1992 up to now. We will use the research results that was awarded by Zhejiang Provincial Government in 1999. Furthermore, the ASP and ODBC, Microsoft NT SQL will be used and completed the construction of Web based E-crop management SimuSystem, an integrated database system containing dynamic simulation, process analysis, soil and weather date and decision making knowledge. The structure of the E-crop SimuSystem is designed as Figure 1.
Data assembling Html Page
Data access interface
Data access interface
Data set disassembling
Linkage and inquiry
Figure 1: E-crop management SimuSystem structure on the Web
6. Project Timeline
7. Project Outputs
Project monitoring: state what monitoring and/or evaluation processes are being proposed. For doing better in future conduction of the proposed project, it is necessary to give a self-critical comment on project monitoring and evaluation processes.
This project will be reviewed by local county and township government, farmers to determine its usefulness and effectiveness in their production and information support and services. It is also can be monitored based on the final output and target specified in the time line and activities report of our project progress timely on a semiannual basis and keep in touch with PanAsia web-sites and e-mails. Final evaluation will be conducted throughout the project questionnaire as a report submitted to the Donor.