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E-commerce pilot projects to be created in 100 counties

Li Hongyang
Updated: May 12,2020 09:01 AM    China Daily

China will build e-commerce pilot projects in 100 counties by the end of 2021 to meet the supply and demand of agricultural products and open up more channels for farmers to increase their incomes, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Local governments are required to join hands with enterprises, industry associations and e-commerce platform giants to support farmers financially and technically — especially those from impoverished areas or areas with natural endowments — and build a high-quality online supply chain of specialty produce, according to a recent guideline released by the ministry.

E-commerce has proved to be an economy booster as a report released by the ministry in April showed that online retail sales of agricultural products in county-level areas nationwide reached 269 billion yuan ($38 billion), an increase of 28.5 percent year-on-year.

The country's 832 impoverished counties took more than 19 billion yuan, an increase of 23.9 percent year-on-year.

Tang Ke, head of the ministry's department of market and economic information, was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying that e-commerce and an integrated market system are needed as a lack of logistical infrastructure and market information has held back agricultural sales.

"In some areas stricken by poverty, refrigerating storehouses and vans were not available and transportation services were not affordable for individual households," he said. "The majority of them didn't have access to sales channels, which made things worse."

In this scenario, the guideline, jointly released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the National Development and Reform Commission and the ministries of finance and commerce, elaborated on ways to nurture online business operators and sound market systems in rural areas.

It said that an intelligent production line and a logistics center that adapt to e-commerce models should be established in every pilot county.

"Farming households, large or small, need to put their agricultural produce into a standardized production line under the same brand," the guideline said.

"The logistics center should perform its functions in sorting and processing goods under low temperatures, commercializing products in unified packaging, refrigerating goods and organizing transportation."

Local governments and all their partners also need to provide farmers with supply and sales plans that cater to the consumption market.

The guideline called for enhanced supervision of safety and quality of goods by counties' agricultural product quality testing institutions and encouraged them to put in place a product traceability system.

A big data platform for agricultural produce will also be built to offer farmers warnings for market risks and in-time sales information.

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