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E-commerce start-up founds beekeeping cooperative


02-28-2017 08:45 BJT

Full coverage: 2017 NPC & CPPCC Sessions

The Chinese government is promoting structural reform in agriculture to boost rural development. And an example of that can be found in the mountainous area of southwest China's Sichuan province, where e-commerce start-ups are teaming up with local farmers to set up cooperatives. CGTN's Meng Qingsheng met up with one of the start-ups' founders, who has helped establish beekeeping cooperative.

Going public and making history. The E-commerce giant Alibaba made the biggest IPO in US history in September, 2014. Wang Shujuan was one of eight representatives invited to ring the opening bell. Four months earlier she established her own brand of honey products for sale on-line.

"E-commerce allows me to reach a wide range of customers. It's easily accesible and used mostly by young people, so I can always share my new thoughts and designs online. And now we have developed a new model of business by merging e-commerce with a cooperative," Wang said.

The beekeeping cooperative involves nearly 500 households across Qingchuan county. Wang's company provides boxes for the hives and free training. And once people start beekeeping, the company buys back the honey at a price higher than the market rate.

"I am planning to expand to twenty bee hives this year. They would produce 25 kilograms of honey, making an additional income of over 2,500 yuan. That's enough to buy daily necessities," Honey bee keeper Li Changqing said.

Honey bee farming has become a profitable business for local people. It's the result of establishing cooperatives involving the majority of farmers in the region. And training in related skills has made this sustainable business go even further.

China's government has prioritized structural adjustment in agriculture. It pledges policy support for emerging forms of agribusiness.

Zuo Wanjun is a deputy to the 12th National People's Congress. He calls for a strategy to increase farmers' income.

"I propose that farmers should work more closely with companies, as companies know the market better. I also propose the setting up of large-scale operations and specialized cooperatives, so that farmers can get more support from companies. It will help them produce what the market wants," Zuo said.

Honey production is now on the rise, as more farmers join the beekeeping cooperative. While keeping a close eye on quality Wang Shujuan has more plans.

"We intend to grow different types of flowers in one of the valleys here, and keep more bees around to produce honey. It will bring more income to local farmers and help develop a sight-seeing business as well," Wang said.

Qingchuan County was severely hit during the deadly quake in 2008. Wang Shujuan says, she is doing her bit to make her hometown prosper.

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