Pinduoduo, the biggest agricultural e-commerce platform in China, has pledged to train another 100,000 e-commerce merchants to boost sales of farm produce through online channels.
Many of these so-called New Farmers are youths who have left their rural hometowns to work in cities. Through training courses held by Pinduoduo, they learn how to set up and manage e-commerce businesses.
Pinduoduo estimates that as of June 2020, the company has directly helped and encouraged more than 100,000 New Farmers to return to the countryside and start businesses, creating jobs and stimulating demand for ancillary services like packaging and logistics.
Many of these New Farmers, like He Shuang from Sichuan’s Daliang Mountains, have benefited from other Pinduoduo programs such as its Duo Duo Orchard game and the market access to almost 700 million consumers through livestreaming.
At the peak of the pomegranate harvest season in August, her monthly store revenue averaged more than 12 million yuan. The ex-flight attendant with China Eastern Airlines has given back to her community by donating supplies to primary schools in the mountainous region.
Another merchant, Yang Tiancai, has not let his muscular dystrophy get in the way of building a successful fruit distribution business on Pinduoduo. He has prioritized buying from impoverished farmers and has trained more than 50 differently abled people to start their businesses or take up full-time jobs.
Getting younger people to be interested in agriculture has been a persistent problem because of the lower economic returns from farming. Over the years, the exodus of youths to the cities in search of work has led to a dwindling and aging farming workforce.
Here are another two New Farmers who have found success on Pinduoduo:
A university undergraduate, Teng started a livestream promoting tea culture. Long hours and several setbacks later, Teng has built a successful online tea business and ensured his family business stayed relevant in the digital economy.
Born to a family of farmers, Liu left a job in the city of Changsha to return home to plant purple rice. After the venture failed, Liu eventually succeeded in creating and selling a local condiment to consumers through e-commerce.