21:48 GMT +316 December 2018
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    This photo taken on June 18, 2016 shows farmers moving rice seedlings at a seedling raising field in Lianyungang, east China's Jiangsu province

    E-Commerce Boosts Farmers' Lives in Old Revolutionary Base Areas

    © AFP 2018 / STR
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    Premier Li Keqiang once said that we'll be able to bring the Chinese economy up to a new level with the tail wind generated by the Internet Plus strategy. Now a county in old revolutionary base areas in Southwest China's Sichuan province has tasted the sweetness of Internet Plus, as farmers' lives are greatly improved by e-commerce.

    Hanyuan County in Ya'an City, Sichuan, was recognized as an old revolutionary base area in 2010 by Sichuan provincial government. Most revolutionary base areas are scattered among mountainous areas with inconvenient transportation, lagging behind in economic and social development over the past decades.

    Located along an altitude between 550 meters and 4,021 meters, the county enjoys 1,475.8 hours of sunlight and 741.8 millimeters of rainfall per year on average. The unique geographic and sunlight resources contribute to many premium agricultural products, such as cherry, apple and Sichuan pepper.

    As nearly 90 percent of Hanyuan's population engages in agriculture, the county government has decided to take agriculture development as their key work. The county now has cherry bases, apple bases, Sichuan pepper bases and other vegetable bases, covering 44,000 hectares.

    The one fatal disadvantage of relying on agricultural products is that farmers will lose big when there are few distribution channels and agricultural products go rotten in the field.

    Previously, farmers had no other way but to wait for wholesalers to come and purchase their goods or go to a nearby market to sell. As e-commerce booms in China, local people and government see opportunities.

    Wang Shibing, who worked in Tianjin, went back to his hometown in Hanyuan in 2013. He set up a cooperative, purchasing fruits from farmers and selling them online. Farmers in the cooperative are required not to use potentially harmful pesticides. All cherries are shipped by air the same day they are picked. Every single fruit is larger in diameter than a one yuan coin.

    This past spring, he sold 15 tons of cherries online and 10 tons offline in 20 days. Fifty farmers in the cooperative with him earn 20% more on average, year-on-year. All cherries in their orchards are sold.

    According to farmer Jiang Li, her cherries sell at 80 yuan (about $12) per kilogram online, while they only sell for 50 yuan per kilogram wholesale.

    By Jiang Wei (China Daily)


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