E-commerce center helps lift incomes
Outside the e-commerce center of once-impoverished Longnan, Gansu province, are rolling mountains that caused roads leading to the modern facility to zigzag.
Inside are rows of small cubes separated by soundproof glass, which allow more than a dozen livestreaming sessions to proceed concurrently.
Livestreamers－some farmers in plain clothes, others college graduates heading agricultural startups－are peddling apples, pears, olive oil and other local specialties in front of cameras and microphones.
Staff said their customers are from a mosaic of countries and regions.
For local farmers in the city of 2.6 million people, known as China's Mecca for anti-poverty programs featuring e-commerce, smartphones have become a new farm tool, and hosting livestreaming sessions an emerging agricultural activity, visiting officials and observers said.
The success in curbing poverty through the internet has led an international body of poverty reduction officials and experts to release the "Longnan Consensus", a joint statement on promoting digital-based anti-poverty approaches.
Released at the 2020 International Seminar on Global Poverty Reduction Partnerships, a seminar that opened in Longnan on Tuesday, the document said the event's 100 or so participants have reached a consensus.
The message: digital innovation and knowledge sharing are urgently needed to reduce global poverty, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Participants endorsing the document include representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the World Food Programme and the World Bank.
Government officials, diplomats, researchers and business deputies from a dozen countries also backed the document.
The global outbreak has plunged up to 115 million people into poverty worldwide, according to an estimate by the World Bank. Meanwhile, the virus-induced disruptions have exemplified the potential for digital technologies to reduce the effects on people's lives.
While addressing the seminar via a prerecorded speech, Stanlake Samkange, senior director of strategic partnerships at the World Food Programme, congratulated Gansu for its achievements in curbing absolute poverty, adding that disconnection from new technologies is a major bottleneck for smallholder farmers to ensure food security, escape poverty and improve livelihoods.
Deemed a platform for sharing best poverty reduction practices, the seminar was the fourth of its kind since 2017. The previous ones were all held in Rome.
Among the latest event's organizers are the China International Publishing Group, the International Poverty Reduction Center in China, the China Internet Information Center and the provincial government of Gansu.
E-commerce has been adopted by Longnan on a large scale since 2014 as part of a broader effort to end absolute poverty and build China into a "moderately prosperous society in all aspects" in time for the centenary of the Communist Party of China in 2021.
On Saturday, authorities in Gansu announced the last eight impoverished counties within its jurisdiction had shaken off poverty.
Gansu had 75 such counties in 2015 when the central government unveiled a list of 832 poverty-stricken county-level regions nationwide, making the province home to some of the most entrenched poverty in China. Listed counties have poverty rates above 3 percent (or 2 percent for counties in wealthier coastal regions).
While addressing the seminar, Tang Renjian, governor of Gansu, said the poverty issue in his province was caused by a mixture of reasons, including natural and historical ones.
Targeted poverty relief efforts have reaped benefits, lifting millions of farmers out of poverty since 2013, and the province has accumulated invaluable experience for the global cause of poverty reduction, he said.
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