Campaign boosts sales from hard-hit regions –

A farmer picks tomatoes in a greenhouse in Tangwan, a village in Huanjiang Maonan autonomous county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on May 12, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

More than 41 billion yuan ($6.1 billion) worth of farm produce has been sold in 22 less affluent provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities as part of a monthlong sales promotion campaign last month, a senior official announced on China’s seventh National Poverty Relief Day on Saturday.

Hong Tianyun, deputy head of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, the top anti-poverty office, said the campaign has helped lift the total sales volume of such products to more than 171 billion yuan in recent years.

In nine wealthier eastern provinces and municipalities, including Beijing, Tianjin, Zhejiang and Guangdong, sales reached a total of 53.5 billion yuan, with 21.5 billion yuan worth of products being sold since September, he said.

The campaign was part of a broader effort by central authorities to stamp out the last remnant of rural poverty before 2021.

“Since the campaign was launched last month, local authorities have managed to mobilize businesses, nonprofits and the public to get involved and buy poverty relief products,” he said.

“That has helped promote consumption as a tool for poverty relief and nurture a social atmosphere that emphasizes individual contribution,” he added.

As part of the campaign, tens of thousands of vending machines have been placed in train stations, airports and other public spaces, selling an assortment of products ranging from tea to bottled beverages and honey that were produced by people in impoverished areas. Authorities in Beijing alone installed about 10,000 such vending machines this year.

Special sections featuring such products have also been created at e-marketplaces including Taobao and, and at brick-and-mortar retailers including Carrefour.

According to the top anti-poverty office, the vending machines and special sales sections online and offline have generated 8.3 billion yuan in sales.

The novel coronavirus outbreak, which caused widespread disruption to logistic chains, and the floods destroying crops and homes in southern provinces have been heavy blows to relief efforts because farm produce sales have been a major contributor to rural incomes. Lackluster sales also bode ill for the sprawling industries that authorities have fostered in rural regions to develop the local economy and employment.

To address the problem, the All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives launched, an online platform for individual and corporate consumers to purchase officially recognized poverty relief products.

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