Seeking the Best Practices in rural agricultural informatization: Evidence from China's Sichuan Province
Informatization, a policy of integrated telecommunications development, is regarded as one of the driving forces behind the Chinese government's new socialist countryside program. Various national and provincial programs have been initiated to connect the agricultural communities to the information highway. Most of the existing studies are conducted at the national level, which largely neglects the fact that China's unique central-provincial-local institutional arrangement makes the provincial/local government not only the implementers of center-initiated projects but also the initiators of informatization programs specific to their territory. This paper studies Sichuan province because its geographic and economic features make it an ideal site. Moreover, Sichuan probably has the widest variety of agricultural informatization programs among all the provinces in China because of the relief efforts after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake by various entities. It is now imperative to critically revisit those programs to find out their status and identify the factors for both their successes and failures. This paper aims to complement the existing rural informatization research in China with a comprehensive provincial/local-level analysis, using an analytical framework that evaluates the performance and sustainability of major ongoing agricultural informatization programs. This paper will identify the best practices for rural development in other countries.
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