ICT-based agricultural advisory services and nitrogen management practices : A case study of wheat production in China

Ding, Ji-Ping; Li, Jing-Han; Liu, Jia-Huan; Zhang, Wei-Feng; Jia, Xiang-Ping


Excessive use of nitrogen fertilizer in China and its adverse effects on agricultural production have been a national and global concern. In addition to massive public initiatives to promote sustainable farm practices, grass-rooted innovations are emerging in the niche, many of which take the forms of information and communication technologies (ICT) and digital services. This study examines the effects of ICT-based extension services provided by an entrepreneurial startup on adopting sustainable farming practices. We found no significant reduction in N-fertilizer use for wheat production. But the ICT-based services promoted farmers to adapt N-fertilizer use towards site-specific management. The business model of the entrepreneurial venture faces great challenges in becoming participatory and financially sustainable.