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Navel Orange Trees and E-commerce Help People Lift out of Poverty

By JIEYU WANGICHONGQING|Apr 15,2020

On April 9, the branches heavy with fruits already put forth blossoms before the picking was done in Santuo Village, Anping Town, Fengjie County. As usual, Huang Tianliang from a poverty-stricken household got up early in the morning. He carried a hoe and went to the orchard not far from home to dig holes for, fertilize and conduct spring maintenance for the citrus trees.

The fruit farmer is picking navel oranges in the orchard—photo by Li Bin.

Huang Tianliang’s family is the only one that had not yet been lifted out of poverty in Santuo Village as his eldest son has uremia, and three grandchildren are school-age. In 2015, as encouraged by the town government, he planted over 300 navel orange saplings, and the trees started to bear fruits the year before last. “This year, the citrus trees will enjoy a high yield. As long as they are properly maintained, each tree can produce more than 50kg of oranges. Even sold at the lowest price (4 yuan per kilogram), I can earn nearly 70 thousand yuan a year. If so, I will get rid of poverty!” Huang Tianliang said with joy.

Many people have benefited from the citrus cultivation industry in Santuo Village, like Huang Tianliang. A total of 238 people from 67 households have been lifted out of poverty in this way. “Santuo Village is located on the banks of the Yangtze River, with a proper climate and soil for citrus growth. The village has established a share-based cooperative, and the villagers become shareholders and cultivated about 2.9km2 of oranges,” said Xu Zhangtao, the first secretary of the village. A specialized team was set up by the cooperative in providing farmers with services such as integrated technical standardization, integrated supply of agricultural materials, integrated irrigation and fertilizing integrated disease and pest control, and integrated fruit picking, to increase production and income.

On the same day, Yu Duxiang, a large grower from the second group of Santuo Village, not far from Huang Tianliang’s house, was busy teaching other villagers how to hang the sticky traps. It was the critical period for pest control for fruit trees. The sticky traps, if properly placed, can effectively combat a variety of pests. “Yu Duxiang is an agricultural technician in the village. With Yu’s help, my trees are high-yielding, and the fruits are delicious every year without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides. It was inconceivable before,” Yu Shichang, another villager, said with emotion.

Since the orange trees are planted, how can sales be guaranteed? Last year, the village started to explore e-commerce services. Villagers have been mobilized to do marketing via WeChat and an e-commerce live broadcast center established. “This year, 70% of sales were achieved via the e-commerce platforms in our village, and the price 4-6 yuan/kilogram higher than that offered by the distributor.” In Xu Zhangtao’s opinion, the e-commerce market for oranges is not saturated yet. They will further enhance the added value of oranges from Santuo Village and enrich more villagers based on marketing.

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