Precision agriculture technology adoption: a qualitative study of small-scale commercial “family farms” located in the North China Plain

Helen Kendall, Beth Clark*, Wenjing Li, Shan Jin, Glyn D. Jones, Jing Chen, James Taylor, Zhenhong Li, Lynn J. Frewer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Precision agriculture (PA) technologies offer a potential solution to food security and environmental challenges but, will only be successful if adopted by farmers. Adoption in China lags behind that in some developed agricultural economies despite scientifically proven benefits of PA technologies for Chinese agriculture. Adoption is dependent on farmer attitudes and perceptions towards PA technologies. An exploratory qualitative study using in-depth interviews was conducted with Chinese arable farmers (n = 27) to explore their perceptions towards and adoption intentions of PA technologies in two Chinese provinces (Hebei and Shandong). A thematic analysis revealed five central themes to have emerged from the data, these were: “socio-political landscape”, “farming culture”, “agricultural challenges”, “adoption intentions (barriers/facilitators” and “practical support mechanisms”. All were likely to influence the level and rate of adoption of PA technologies amongst family farmers in China. The research revealed an openness to the potential of PA technologies amongst family farmers, although there was heterogeneity in the perceptions of PA technology and willingness to adopt. Improved rates of adoption will be achieved by reducing the barriers to adoption, including the need for low-cost PA applications that can be applied at small scale, improved information provision, financial support mechanisms including more accessible subsidies and credit, and reliable, regulated and affordable service provision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-351
Number of pages33
JournalPrecision Agriculture
Issue number1
Early online date12 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • adoption motivations
  • benefits
  • China
  • farmer perceptions
  • precision agriculture
  • risk
  • UKRI
  • STFC
  • ST/N006801/1


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