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Two villages come out of poverty with help from online sales

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-07 07:55

It's a hot afternoon when Zhong Qilan walks out of his house sweating in the sun to check out his navel oranges that cover about 10 hectares of a mountainous area in Jiangxi province.

"In November, these oranges will turn yellow and it'll be the time for harvest," says Zhong, 51, pointing to the oranges on trees that are still green.

In this small village of Nantian, in Jiangxi's Huichang county, Zhong has been growing navel oranges since 2004.

Now, his annual income is 1.5 million yuan ($230,000). It was 70,000 yuan earlier. Other than the fruit farm, Zhong raises fish and livestock, which bring him about 1 million yuan a year.

For more than 50 years, fish farming was the only industry that generated income for local villagers, says Zhong, who was born and grew up in Nantian.

Thanks to a poverty alleviation campaign in the village, the past three years have seen incomes increase.

In addition, a narrow road running through the village has been upgraded, wasted patches of farmland are being reused, garbage is being taken out of nearby rivers and new homes are being built for the villagers.

Zhong's 30-year-old son, Zhong Pengxiang, who graduated from Nanchang Vocational Animal Science and Veterinary College, started selling navel oranges via online shopping platforms, such as Taobao of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, about three years ago.

The move helped increase their sale of oranges from 50,000 to 300,000 kilograms by 2016.

"I couldn't imagine such a big change in the village. I am just one of those who benefitted from the poverty alleviation campaign," says Zhong Qilan.

Like Nantian, Daxiba is another village in Huichang that has transformed from a poverty-stricken place to one with lush lotus-covered landscape.

Before the anti-poverty campaign, Daxiba was struggling below the poverty line, which is measured in China at an annual individual income of 2,855 yuan.

In a grocery store near a local government building in the village, it's hard to ignore a giant interactive screen that sells local crops, such as lotus seeds, rice and fruits, online.

"Modern agriculture is the key to eradicating poverty. With the support of the government, we also developed tourism in the village," says Chen Quanshan, an official in Daxiba.

The village's population is about 630.

In 2015, Daxiba started developing agricultural cooperatives, gathering local villagers and focusing on selling products online to help increase incomes and in turn develop large-scale local industries.

By the end of 2016, the villagers had lifted themselves out of poverty.

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