Chinese farmers are increasingly taking to the internet to boost their income from their harvests, the Ministries of Finance and Commerce report. The two government departments have nominated 200 counties for a great agricultural online retailing leap forward. Food Navigator advises a massive roll-out of internet services in rural areas, to make selling online a reality for 50,000 villages, and to take agricultural produce to new markets.
Chinese Farmers Set to Profit from the Internet
The State Council announced plans last week to invest US$ 22.8 billion in internet facilities for online retailing, and provide the 50,000 villages with 98% connectivity. The program aligns with the 2020 national goal to shoehorn 70 million rural dwellers out of poverty by 2020.
Selling online is proving doable in remote areas of the Asian giant. Take millet farmer Huo Liang for example. He used to live a financially disadvantaged life in Tongu County in Jilin Province, northeast China. Now ECNS reports Liang is pulling US$ 158 off the internet monthly, by trading online in humble millet. There seems digital hope for all in China, now the government program is moving beyond the cities to Chinese farmers and their communities.
Online Retailing Accounting for a Third of Farm Production
Nearly a third of agricultural products including basic foodstuff millet sell online. ECNS quotes the secretary of Tongu party Sun Hongjun as saying, ‘to further alleviate poverty through internet, the government needs to improve infrastructure and logistics in rural regions. We must cultivate IT professionals and provide more information services to help farmers access the web.’
By the end of 2014 there were still 70 million people living in China below the breadline. Many of these were Chinese farmers eking out a living in remote rural areas. Although harvests have been improving, inefficient sales channels have been holding things back. Now with selling online a realty for many, online retailing holds the key.
Read more about how China wants to ensure the Internet is readily available to every Chinese consumer here