URUMQI, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- For Wang Haiying, a 55-year-old farmer with over three decades of experience in goji berry cultivation, the post-harvest experience of the reddish-orange nutritious fruit has been increasingly reassuring in recent years.
Wang hails from the goji berry cultivation hub of Jinghe County in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The harvested goji berries are usually processed into dried berries and in the past, their sales were a source of concern for Wang due to limited market reach.
However, those worries are now a thing of the past. The local government has stepped up the industrial development of goji berries by working with farming cooperatives and processing firms to expand the goji berry market, ensuring a more substantial slice of the pie.
To expand and strengthen the industrial chain, Jinghe has partnered with JD Cloud, a cloud service provider of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com. This latest move aims to leverage the platform's e-commerce expertise, industry operation know-how and resource network to boost both the reputation and sales of the local goji berries.
Thanks to these initiatives, Wang's goji berries can now be transformed into high-value-added products such as juice, primary pulp and various other goji derivatives, available for sale in popular online and offline stores.
JD Cloud has helped the local government create a regional brand of goji berry, and introduced a popular NFC goji berry juice earlier this month, with half of its stock sold out on the very first day of its release.
"The biggest asset that we can share with the local government and farmers is the big data collected across the entire industrial chain and the insights derived from the data," said JD Cloud's Sun Nailong, who handles the Jinghe goji berry project.
"The information collected across the supply chain can offer precise insight into consumer preferences, thus offering timely clues to farmers and processing firms to make targeted investment and adjustments," said Dong Youdan, associate professor at the School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Renmin University of China.
Digital tools, such as e-commerce platforms, have emerged as powerful engines for boosting the income of Chinese farmers. In the first half of 2023, China's online retail sales of agricultural products reached 270 billion yuan (about 37 billion U.S. dollars), up 13.1 percent year on year, with the country's western region posting the fastest growth, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.
China has called for expanding agricultural product sales through digital means, promoting direct procurement of produce via e-commerce platforms, customized production, and the development of rural e-commerce by setting up livestreaming sales stations and cultivating local livestreamers.
Local governments in many regions have worked with the country's influential livestreaming e-commerce platforms to train rural talents.
Last week, northeast China's agricultural powerhouse, Heilongjiang Province, joined forces with Xinxuan Group, a leading player in China's rapidly evolving livestreaming e-commerce industry. This partnership aims to provide local farmers with practical lessons in areas such as livestreaming account management, internet traffic management, short-video production, and sales pitch techniques.
Since 2022, the company has organized livestreaming training sessions for over 3,000 farmers in Xinjiang, Shandong, Hainan and several other provincial-level regions.
"The trainees were all keen to acquire new skills, and some of them are even in their 60s. In the digital era, you have to keep learning and it's never too late to learn," said Feng Yunlong, an instructor from Xinxuan Group. ■