Sichuan adopts innovative method to lift farmers out of poverty

By Lin Zhibo, People’s Daily

Southwest China’s Sichuan province, by innovating the marketing mechanism for its poverty alleviation products, has helped a great number of farmers get through hardships.

The province registered a collective logo for local farmers for which all products coming from impoverished villages can apply. Those products approved will be recommended by the government to catering enterprises, supermarkets, government organs, communities and e-commerce platforms.

Such method has successfully introduced the products from Sichuan’s impoverished villages to proper markets and lowered the cost of logistics.

The delicious Long’an grapefruit is a protected geographical indication product, which has been introduced by Sichuan’s Gexin village to establish featured industry. A total of 53.3 hectares of such fruit trees were planted in the village.

However, before the innovative marketing mechanism was put into use, the fruit barely played its role as a tool to alleviate poverty.

“Our village is an impoverished village, and the Long’an grapefruit was introduced to establish a specialty industry to help us get rid of poverty. But later we found it difficult to sell the fruits, for which our villagers were bearing a resentment,” said Yang Shengrong, secretary of the Gexin village Party branch.

Jin Dafu, who came to Gexin village in early 2019 as the first secretary, a post in charge of poverty alleviation work, decided to find markets for the villagers after seeing the unsalable fruits rotten. “You plant them, I sell them,” Jin told the villagers.

Thanks to the innovative marketing mechanism and Jin’s efforts, the grapefruits of Gexin village embraced a sales boom. Villager Long Chengmin said that he sold over 1,000 grapefruits online in 3 days, earning 6,000 yuan ($876). “The fruits have become a money tree for us,” he said.

Taking the opportunity, Gexin village established a cooperative joined by all the 24 impoverished households in the village and opened an online shop that purchases and sells agricultural products including the Long’an grapefruit.

“The grapefruits were barely sold out even at a price of less than one yuan per kilogram, but now the price goes up to at least 10 yuan per kilogram,” Yang introduced. According to him, the cooperative received at least 3,000 orders last year, which benefited 78 grapefruit planters who saw their household income grow over 3,000 yuan on average.

The Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation recently issued a report on the development of rural e-commerce in China. The report said rural e-commerce, by connecting the supply and demand sides, has effectively cut cost and improved efficiency, thus stimulating production vitality in the rural region, increasing farmers’ income and enhancing employment.

World Bank and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba also jointly released a report titled E-commerce Development : Experience from China on Nov. 23, 2019. According to the report, part of the impoverished regions in China have benefited from e-commerce, and digital technology can be a powerful instrument for rural vitalization and poverty reduction.

E-commerce is showing increasing power in revitalizing China’s rural areas. As the country has established successful online platforms, Chinese farmers are seeing more hope of getting rid of poverty and embracing a well-off life.

Now, villagers from Gexin village have innovatively expanded their way of thinking. They are now making tea from grapefruit flowers, extracting fructus aurantii immaturus from fruitlets, and making cakes with inferior-quality grapefruits. Besides, they are also selling chili sauce and eggs to gain extra income.

So far, the collective logo registered by Sichuan province has introduced 3,323 products to the market, achieving a sales volume of nearly 5.14 billion yuan.

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