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Computer Revolution for Women Farmers
The All-China Women's Federation Wednesday launched a campaign to spread information technology know-how among women farmers.

The areas targeted are among some of China's poorest and least advanced. Part of the funding for the simple but innovative scheme has come from the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Under the first phase of the campaign, 250 specially-built information machines, costing a total of 700,000 yuan (US$84,000), will be installed in around 10 villages in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Northeast China's Jilin Province and Northwest China's Gansu Province.

The information machine, a simplified version of computers, will be a source of specialized agricultural production and marketing information accessible via a special network which feeds directly into the homes of farmers.

"If there had been such machines, many of our local people would not have suffered severe economic losses," said Kang Fen, an official with the women's federation of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Jilin.

Due to the negative impact of SARS, many South Korean businessmen have cancelled their regular purchasing tours to the prefecture.

Since these businessmen make up the only sales channel for most of the area's local farmers, the resulting economic loss was high.

"But with the new information machines and the rich information brought by them, our farmers should be able to expand their sales channels and avoid such losses in the future," said Kang.

Zhao Shaohua, an official with the All-China Women's Federation, said the spreading of information technology among women is essential if the country is to fulfill its ambitious goal of creating a "digital agriculture" -- one which manages the whole agricultural procedure through information technology.

Karim Ebrahim Al-Shakar, the ambassador of Bahrain to China, highly applauded the campaign and pledged to further help it.

(China Daily July 17, 2003)

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