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Farmers Profit From Long-distance Education Networks
    2007-01-19 14:38:50     CRIENGLISH.com

Broadcasting Time: 2007-01-19

Along with the rapid development of telecommunications and computer technologies, long-distance education is being made possible in China's rural areas.

What's more, long-distance education has played a significant role in spreading rural technologies and helping increase farmers' incomes. Manling has more.

Shaoshan Village in central China's Hunan Province is home to 1,600 people. Traditionally, the farmers in this village grow rice for food. However, their output was low due to old and outdated farming techniques.

Thanks to the introduction of a kind of super hybrid rice two years ago, their output has doubled from that before. But how did these farmers manage to incorporate modern agricultural techniques so quickly? Li Dinghong is one of those who benefited from a long-distance education program. He talks about his experiences.

"I received education about the super hybrid rice through the internet. Thanks to the help of technical personnel at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, our crop output has increased more than 5,000 kilograms per hectare."

Complete with satellite receivers, computers and TV sets, a long-distance network has been set up at the village. And a grid service center has been built in town to receive the educational programs.

In fact, similar long-distance education networks can be found all over the country thanks to cutting edge communications technologies like broadband satellite internet connections, cable TV and digital broadcasting services.

The networks have enabled agricultural specialists and experts to provide long-distance supervision and training to farmers about modern agricultural techniques.

Such programs are available at Shaoshan Village three times a week. Each time local farmers gather at the long-distance service center to listen to lectures given by agricultural experts.

Meanwhile, an interactive program has also been launched to allow farmers to communicate with the experts too.
Technician Hu Yongwei is responsible for technical supervision of the village's service center.

"Usually we send our questions and get a reply right away, in a minute. We can also leave questions for the experts if they are busy at that moment."

According to statistics, 12 large agricultural provinces in China have been covered by such long-distance education networks. They include central China's Henan and eastern China's Zhejiang provinces. As a result, tens of thousands of farmers have benefited from the program. For example in southwestern China's Guizhou Province alone, 17,000 such long-distance centers have been set up, covering 70 percent of all villages in the province.

Chen Yongkang grows grapes in eastern China. Before, plant diseases and insect pests used to be a big headache. However, with help from the long-distance network, he has found effective ways to solve his problems.

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