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Farmers find new business opportunities through webcasts

(People's Daily Online)    10:26, December 14, 2018

With the rapid development of e-commerce and the soaring popularity of webcasting in China, more and more Chinese farmers have found ways to increase their incomes by promoting and selling agricultural products via webcasts and short videos, China Youth Daily reported on Dec.13.

Zhang Yonghong, a woman in Jiucaigou village, Kuyuan county of north China’s Hebei province, is now a webcast host selling local specialties through online means to the rest of the country.

Before attending the training class for e-commerce, Zhang had no alternative but to stay at home being unemployed during the slack farming season, just like many other farmers, while today, with her progress in e-commerce, Zhang feels that she and many other villagers are catching up with the pace of the times through the internet.

“Although I’m in a small village, I feel that I’m living a life freer than that of those people in the big cities. My life will be better in the future since I can always sell agricultural products with a mobile phone in my spare time,” said Zhang.

Zhang is not the only one who is enjoying increasing income through her new identity as a webcast host. In China, more and more farmers are learning to promote and sell agricultural produce through online channels.

Before the Spring Festival in 2018, under the guidance of a Chinese company named China Agriculture Service Co., Ltd., trained farmers in one of China’s national-level poverty-stricken counties Wuxiang county started to launch webcast activities themed on “Spring Festival shopping” via live-broadcasting platforms including one called Yizhibo.

Within two weeks of live-broadcasting, many farmers showcased their agricultural products in front of the cameras for the first time, describing the growing conditions and procedures as well as the food value. To their surprise, all the farmers in the webcasts got orders for their products during the activities.

Under the demonstration effect of the “Spring Festival shopping” webcasts, more and more farmers in Wuxiang country joined the activities to sell products through webcasts, and China Agriculture Service Co., Ltd. even set up a special group of farmer webcast hosts in Wuxiang.

As a typical agricultural county in Changzhi city of north China’s Shanxi province, people in the Wuxiang county had long been faced with lack of means to obtain additional incomes. However, with the new channels and newly acquired skills, these farmers in the poverty-stricken place have found their way to a better life.

Ren Lihong is a member in the group of farmer webcast hosts in Wuxiang county. Before becoming a webcast host, she was a migrant worker in cities. Ren had returned home for the training class for e-commerce last November.

Ren started her first webcast during the “Spring Festival shopping” webcast activities this past February, showing in front of the camera homegrown millet, buckwheat tea, and hand-made fine dried noodles while talking about the changes in her village. Since then, Ren has been promoting agricultural products via webcasts and selling via WeChat.

Growing orders consolidated Ren’s determination to sell homegrown agricultural products through webcasts. During her webcasts, she also teaches buyers how to cook delicious dishes from her hometown with the grains bought from her. This year, she sold more than 3,500 kilograms of millet in less than one month.

Similar stories are happening to many farmers today, said Rong Tao, project manager of an e-commerce demonstration project of China Agriculture Service Co., Ltd., disclosing that some farmers selling hand-made fine dried noodles via the “webcast+WeChat” mode have realized sales figures of over 40,000 yuan (about $5,826.15) within one month.

In Kuyuan county of north China’s Hebei province, families running ‘agritainment’ business have attracted dozens of people from other cities in China to the county for sightseeing, and a women who is in her sixties has reached sales of 8,000 yuan by showing the process of her making cotton-padded trousers via webcast, earning more than some young people do, said Rong.

It’s learned that the group of farmer webcast hosts in Wuxiang county has over 300 farmer members so far, while many more are under selection and training for online means of e-commerce. The majority of the members are from poor families in China’s rural areas, with most of them being middle aged and elderly women with less education. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wu Chengliang, Liang Jun)

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