According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, China will set up 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.
A guideline recently issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, local governments need to join hands with enterprises, industry associations and e-commerce platform giants to financially and technically support farmers, especially those from poor areas or areas rich in natural resources, and establish a high-quality online supply chain for featured agricultural products.
E-commerce has proved to be an economy booster, because a report released by the Ministry of Agriculture in April showed that the total online retail sales of agricultural products in county-level areas nationwide reached 269 billion yuan (US$ 38 billion), up 28.5% year-on-year.
A total of more than 19 billion yuan was invested in 832 poor counties nationwide, up 23.9% year-on-year.
Tang Ke, head of the ministry’s department of the market and economic information, pointed out that due to the lack of logistics infrastructure and market information, the sale of agricultural products was blocked, thus requiring e-commerce and the integration of the market system.
He said: “In some distressed area, there are no refrigerated warehouses and vans, and individual families cannot afford transportation services. Most of them have no sales channels, which makes things worse.”
Under such circumstances, the guidelines jointly released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Finance and Commerce set forth in detail the methods for nurturing online business operators and improving the market system in rural areas.
It said that an intelligent production line and logistics center adapted to the e-commerce mode should be established in each pilot county.
The guidelines said: “Farming households, large or small, need to put their agricultural products into standardized production lines of the same brand. Logistics centers should play their functions of sorting and processing goods, uniformly packaging goods, refrigerating goods, and organizing transportation at low temperatures.”
Local governments and all their partners also need to provide farmers with supply and marketing plans that cater to the consumer market.
The guidelines require county agricultural product quality inspection agencies to strengthen the supervision of product safety and quality and encourage them to establish product traceability systems.
A big data platform for agricultural produce will also be established to provide farmers with early warning of market risks and timely sales information.