China will roll out guidelines for the standardization of packaging, transport logistics and quality of farm produce as part of its Internet Plus Agriculture strategy aimed at boosting the rural economy, a senior official said on July 2.
Qu Dongyu, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said the move aims to boost sales of farm produce and enrich farmers by developing stable industries.
"In the coming three decades, Chinese agriculture will continue to feature small-scale farming by individual owners. The internet will offer a rare opportunity for small farmers to tap into the national and even the global market," he said.
Qu said the ministry will continue to provide training for farmers in the use of smartphones to help with production and marketing.
He was speaking at a news conference about the Internet Plus Agriculture strategy and the integrated development of primary, secondary and tertiary industries in rural areas.
China released a guideline in 2015 calling for integrating the internet with sectors including government services, advanced manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare.
To bring more business opportunities to rural residents, the central government decided in June to improve rural internet services and IT infrastructure, and to promote the integrated development of three industries.
Qu said the Internet Plus Agriculture strategy has shown positive movement over the past five years, with online sales of agricultural products approaching 300 billion yuan ($45.1 billion) last year, and the creation of 28 million jobs.
"Around one-third of China's 600,000 administrative villages have set up information centers providing services and training for farmers, a scale unprecedented across the globe," he said.
Qu also noted progress in rural IT infrastructure. By the end of last year, 96 percent of administrative villages had access to broadband internet service, he said.
China has implemented the Broadband China strategy to ensure that more than 98 percent of villages have access to broadband by 2020.
Zong Jinyao, director of the ministry's Bureau of Produce Processing, noted at the news conference that the integrated development of industries is a major policy innovation and could help rural areas gain momentum.
He said that in the past, building a complete chain of industry and value was not emphasized, and proved unsuccessful. "Now we need to work on this front to add value to farm produce, and increase farmers' incomes," he said.
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