Brand Agriculture: A New Model for Poverty Alleviation in Changde
Changde Brand Agriculture Promotion Conference
Mayor Cao Lijun tries the Shimen black tea.
Zhu Shuiping the Deputy Secretary of Changde Municipal Party Committee and Gong Dehan Vice Mayor of Changde are touring the exhibition.
On June 22nd, Changde Brand Agriculture Promotion Conference “Changde Brands, Chinese Quality” was successfully held in Beijing National Convention Center. Those “Made in Changde” agricultural products have eventually gone out and found their way to Beijing, where the Changde flavor gains favor. Fifty leading agricultural enterprises introduced to the conference more than 100 categories of Changde high-quality agricultural products, such as Changde fragrant rice, Jinshi rice noodles, Lingxi tea oil, Hezhou turtle, Shimen black tea. Seventy-six contracts were signed on site, with the comprehensive contract amount reaching RMB 16.9 billion yuan. Changde agricultural products made their debut in Beijing, inferior to no other products, making a tremendous success.
Among such a large number of “Made in Changde” agricultural products, quite a noticeable part is from poverty-stricken areas. The press has been informed that twenty-six of the leading agricultural enterprises participating in the exhibition have been directly involved in the poverty alleviation construction, and therefore, they have established close relationship with poor villages and poor households for the sake of interests. On this event, with the full-loaded expectation and simple wishes from those poor villagers, they brought tea, fragrant rice, fresh fruit, chicken, and mountain pigs to Beijing, which have gained a wide popularity in the trade fair.
During the event, the agricultural products marked with poverty alleviation project have helped the enterprises to sign 34 cooperation projects on site, with a contract value of more than RMB 5 billion yuan. Among them, Junhe Tea Company, which is located in the depth of the mountainous region Wuyunjie of Taoyuan County, signed a 250-million-yuan contract. The company has driven more than 1,000 local impoverished people to develop tea industry. Hunan Yangshi Fresh Fruit Company, a citrus-growing company from Shimen County, whose employees are once low-income villagers, signed a contract of RMB 200 million yuan. Shimen-based Xiangjia Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd, which has promoted poor households to raise chickens, signed a contract of RMB 50 million yuan.
The list can go on and on. Why is it that so many Changde agricultural products marked with poverty-stricken regions are able to march into the Beijing market? The answer is inextricably linked with Changde’s continuous efforts to boost poverty alleviation by developing industry and promoting consumption in recent years.
Low-income villagers in Shimen mountainous areas are developing sheep farming industry.
1. Building an industry-oriented strategic foundation to alleviate poverty
Changde, a traditional agricultural region famous for its long history of rice cultivation and abundant in agricultural resources, is advancing towards the modern agricultural technology and market policy. There are a variety of geographic conditions including mountains, hills, plains and lakes, which present a perfect farming and raising place for grain and cotton oil, pigs, poultry, fruits, vegetables and tea. Considering all these facts mentioned above, it should be a reasonable conclusion that such a place of fertility, entitled as “the hometown of fish and rice of Dongting Lake Region”, should never be troubled by poverty. Indeed, according to the census in 2014, Changde had a population of 6.2 million and the impoverished population reached 376,000, of which, the Shimen County marked with a poor region, accounted for a quarter. Based on the causal analysis, the main factors that contribute to poverty of the low-income households are diseases and disability. To fight against poverty, Changde has given priority to developing industries with the utilization of rich agricultural resources.
Boosting the poverty alleviation project from policy-making level requires down-to-earth careful work. Poverty-stricken families have been categorized into 3 types: “laborers”, “weak laborers” and “no laborers”. For the 66,000 households that have laborers, the tailor-made “Poverty Alleviation Project Package” will be delivered with the focus on helping them participate in the local industrial construction and share the benefit. Via the implementation of various measures including industrial development proposal, mini finance-aid plan, interest linkage, skill training courses, employment transferring, entrepreneurial incubation support, all households owing labor will figure out the way to get rid of poverty.
In Shimen County, Xiangjia Animal Husbandry has implemented the 50-million “Shimen Country Free-range Chicken” project. Each low-income village can raise 300,000 chickens per year. Each poor household can raise two batches of chicken, 500 to 1000 chickens per batch. The 29 poverty-stricken villages that have bought shares may get the annual bonus of more than RMB 40,000 per year each, and each of the 773 poor households who join in this project can increase their income by more than RMB 10,000 yuan annually.
In addition, Shimen County set up a RMB 200,000 yuan industrial development fund for each village, plus small loans implementation. All the policies aim to encourage the masses to conduct agricultural production, and to ensure that the each poverty alleviation village has industries and every family has an income-increase project.
For more than 50,000 families of “weak laborers”, the local government adopts the policy of developing industry and stimulating employment to tackle poverty problems, which means those weak laborers can get a guarantee to obtain a sustainable income as much as possible. Hilly areas in Changde can be a specific resource with forestry and fruit industry, which is a particularly practical and reliable solution for those low-income and weak labor families as the agricultural commodity production requires not much labor and much less intense physical work. For example, Kemushan Village of Linli County put huge effort into developing the navel orange industry and more than 2,700 poverty-stricken people have benefited from this project. To help poor households launch the navel orange plantation, the village provided seedlings and forest land consolidation subsidies, and registered “Gao Xiaomei” brand. With the establishment of e-commerce platform, those poor households can sell their local agricultural products online, and the plantation has extended to more than 840 acres.
There are also countermeasures for more than 5,000 families with no laborers. Shimen County makes full use of the ecological advantages of mountainous region to develop the bee breeding, and implements the care and escrow mode for those non-labor households. The “sweet job” allows them to “lie idle” at home and gain stable and substantial benefits. It is reported that 2 barrels of bees are placed in front of each low income households, and a least profit of RMB five or six thousand yuan can be achieved in one year.
The Power Station over the Lotus Pond
Happiness of a Good Harvest
2. Breaking the sales dilemma
Poverty originates from isolation. To tackle the poverty problem means to overcome the barriers and break self-isolation. The biggest dilemma for industrial poverty alleviation projects is that commodities cannot figure out a path into the market so that the whole industry might be stuck into a dilemma in which either rare products meet fever need or redundant products meet no market.
In particular, one of the pillars of Changde economy is agriculture. Hence, the sales issue is not only significant for poverty alleviation products, but also a constant concern for the agricultural products and related enterprises within the whole city domain. For instance, in order to promote the sales of “Changde Brand” agricultural products, a series of brand forging and sales promotion measures has been taken to expand the market to large cities out of Hunan province, including Shanghai, Beijing and even some foreign metropolises. A large group of agricultural enterprises and agricultural products have successfully taken a share of domestic and global market. In the past few years Changde has made great efforts to solve the sales problem of products from poverty-stricken areas in the following ways:
First, agricultural enterprises are deeply docked into far off low-income families. Second, the government has opened up fast lanes for that links. In the past three years, more than 200 on-site meetings of poverty alleviation projects and agricultural enterprises have been held. A lot of poverty alleviation cadres enthusiastically acted as “salesmen” and actively play the role of a messenger or agency between local agricultural products and supermarkets, wholesale markets, agricultural product processing enterprises. At present, some urban chain supermarkets in Changde have set special direct-sale counters for those poverty alleviation products, which take advantage of “green channels” so that the profit can go back to those poverty-stricken families.
In Shimen County, the Xiangjia Animal Husbandry Company has established strategic cooperation relationship with more than 30 supermarket groups at home and abroad, and has owned “Xiangjia Fresh Poultry Self-operated Counters” in more than 2,000 Chinese and foreign supermarkets in more than 100 cities among 17 provinces nationwide. Products in these counters are mainly from the mountainous areas of Shimen County, and many sales promoters are from poor families.
Once there are e-commerce training courses in far-off villages and towns, the nation-wide territory can be an online store. The promotion of e-commerce adds the "Internet +" wings to poverty alleviation projects in poverty-stricken areas.
In August 2018, Linli County was granted among the first batch of poverty alleviation and country revitalizing service stations in Hunan Province, and established a comprehensive cooperation relationship with Alibaba. The Sheshiqiao Town built a kiwifruit plantation covering seventy acres of e-commerce direct sales base, set up two e-commerce companies and opened more than 20 online shops plus we-chat stores. This project has presented a solution to improve 55 low-income families’ living standard in the far-off village, with an average annual income increase of 4,500 yuan.
Since last year, Changde has trained 1,200 e-commerce talents for targeted poverty alleviation projects, and set up 536 new online shops on the spot. The network of e-commerce poverty alleviation in 7 counties of outlets has achieved full coverage of poverty stricken areas. The number of rural e-commerce poverty alleviation online stores has reached 1190, with the annual sales amounting to nearly RMB 1 billion yuan.
Bringing customers into local market of country areas for the sake of shortening the distance between consuming terminal and products creates a huge impact on promoting the sales. On the one hand, the townspeople have a strong consuming competence in that they desire to taste the untreated farmhouse food and yearn for experience of the raw farmhouse life style but they often have difficulty finding "authentic country life." On the other hand, farmers are not capable of digesting their own agricultural products in the local market, let alone selling them to distant buyers. Changde takes the initiative to bring urban customers into the local market of country areas, draw the chart to design the poverty alleviation tourism lines and build tourist resorts, luring people living in the city into going to the countryside. With the steps taken, the poverty- stricken villagers can trade in their own products without leaving their home.
At present, a number of high level rural tourist areas such as Dingcheng Hongye Vocation Villa, Linli Fuzhou Wetland Tourist Resort, and Huangjiatao Manor in Lixian County have become the first choice for many urban residents. These resorts adopt the principles of acquisition and sales of agricultural by-products of fruits and vegetables, and recruit country labor to pull poor households out of poverty by optimizing employment.
3. Forging a long-lasting industrial chain
It has become a common sense that a glitch in poverty alleviation might even bring it into a short-lived career. For example, if the on-site support team withdraws from the area, it is unlikely that the industry continues to develop. If the backing unit no longer launches the unit cadres to buy the products of poor households in far-off villages, it will be a great challenge to seek buyers for the products.
In the very beginning, Changde gave the priority concern to the industrial poverty alleviation model design. We worked hard on building a framework of direct assistance, entrusted aid and shareholding cooperation, sparing no effort to ensure the strengthened interests linkage plus a long standing support of industrial development, and guaranteeing the benefits of poor households.
Since the beginning of this year, Changde has actively explored poverty alleviation channels for consumption, and strengthened the long-term development of poverty alleviation projects and the sustainable increase of income for the poor. Recently, we have endeavored to establish a catalogue of agricultural products for sale from poverty-stricken areas in Changde City, focusing on a bunch of new commercial patterns to diminish poverty. A reliable and efficient chain of poverty alleviation projects plus consumption promotion is taking shape and will make a great difference to the welling-being of all the Changde people.
Please refer to eng.changde.gov.cn when using this article
Translator: Chen Ying
Chinese source: http://cd.rednet.cn/