China's e-commerce platforms have helped open up the market for agricultural products, with an increasing number of them now being sold online. This new trend has made live-streaming a new way to alleviate poverty, with mobile phones becoming "new farm tools".
"Everyone has brought their own agricultural products, and there is a screen in front of you. How can we make the audiences believe that they’re delicious? Now, let's feel the look on your face during the live-streaming!" said Zhang Qi, an instructor at a farmers' education and training center in south China's Hainan province.
The training center invites professionals such as directors and makeup stylists to teach farmers, agricultural enterprises and cooperatives a variety of skills ranging from short video editing and live-streaming sales skills to clothing and makeup.
"Everybody, please take a look. This is naked oats flour. We can use it to make steamed bread and noodles. It tastes very good,” said Pei Yanqin, 59, speaking Mandarin with a strong local accent and communicating smoothly with netizens through her live-streaming software. Just over a year ago, she was a rural resident who had no idea how to sell goods.
Dayuanfangzi is a small village in Guyuan county, Zhangjiakou city, north China's Hebei province. There are 73 families in the village, of which more than 50 have been registered as poor families.
In 2018, the comprehensive demonstration project of national e-commerce for rural areas was launched in Guyuan country. Due to its proximity to the main road and the county, it was decided that Dayuanfangzi village would be the location for live-streaming.
"Training is very important. Everything starts from scratch," says Zhou Yuxin, head of the live-streaming project in Dayuanfangzi village.
Zhou added, ”We chose villagers with a strong desire, set up a farmer live-streaming team, and helped them get training in live-streaming, short video marketing, and other courses. It wasn’t fancy, but simple, practical, and effective."
Today, Dayuanfangzi village has developed eight e-commerce live-streaming courtyards for poverty alleviation. Some presenters work alone, while others are husband and wife teams.
Zhou Yuxin said that in the next step, Dayuanfangzi village will train more farmer presenters and develop in the direction of multi-variety sales and multi-platform live-streaming.
* This article was published in partnership with People’s Daily Online SA.