Business / Economy

Chinese farmers turn to e-commerce to rid poverty

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-10-15 17:45

BEIJING - Huo Liang earns about 1,000 yuan a month ($158) running an online shop to sell millet, a humble but nutritious food popular among Chinese.

His earnings are remarkable for a financially disadvantaged family in Tongyu county, northeast China's Jilin province.

In the county, nearly a third of the agricultural products including millet are sold online. Sun Hongjun, secretary of the county Party committee, said to further alleviate poverty through Internet, the government needs to improve infrastructure and logistics in rural regions, cultivate IT professionals and provide more information services to help farmers access the web.

Tongyu is not the only place to do so. The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Commerce have announced 200 counties as demonstration bases for rural E-commerce.

In the lead up to China's 2nd National Poverty Relief Day on Saturday, the State Council unveiled plans on Wednesday to upgrade its Internet infrastructure and the development of its logistics industry in rural areas.

The government decided to allocate more central government funds to building Internet infrastructure and also advocated funding from local governments and social organizations. It plans to invest up to 140 billion yuan by 2020 to provide at least 50,000 villages with Internet access.

By then, about 98 percent of the nation's rural areas will be hooked up to the Internet.

It coincides with another of China's 2020 target to help about 70 million rural residents out of poverty.

China still had 70.17 million people in the countryside living below the country's poverty line of 2,300 yuan in annual income at the end of 2014. If using the new international poverty line of $1.9 a day as benchmark, the number will see a substantial rise.

Saturday also marks the 23rd International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. In preparation, Beijing will host the Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum on Friday, during which around 300 worldwide representatives will gather to share their experience in combating poverty.

Many provincial governments, such as Shandong and Gansu, have announced policies to fight poverty with the help of e-commerce, said Qu Tianjun, an official with the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

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