China will speed up e-commerce development for the farming and agriculture sector, according to an action plan released Friday.
China will establish sound e-commerce infrastructure and policies while nurturing a batch of influential agricultural e-commerce brands in the next three years, according to the joint plan from the ministries of agriculture and commerce and the National Development Reform Commission.
Farming in China has been booming for more than three decades but has not kept pace with demographic changes and advances in technology. Inefficient sales channels, a shrinking labor force and financing difficulties have been squeezing farmers’ earnings and dragging down the rural economy.
The action plan maps out 20 specific targets including connecting e-commerce platforms to develop agricultural business and expanding market channels to facilitate agricultural e-commerce growth.
According to Alibaba, China’s e-commerce heavyweight, there are more than 1.6 million online stores selling farm produce on Taobao and Tmall. Rural e-commerce was worth more than 140 billion yuan last year.
Alibaba plans to invest 10 billion yuan to establish 100,000 village service centers in the next three to five years, mostly to teach rural people how to make best use of the Internet. JD.com wants to hire 100,000 villagers as agents to expand their business in 100,000 villages this year alone.