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China deepens reforms in agriculture cooperatives

Updated: Apr 3,2015 2:13 PM

The government has issued a new paper on reforms in China’s agriculture supply and marketing cooperative system. It’s a system where farmers come together to sell their farming produce collectively, hence increasing their sales power.

But decades after the establishment of the system, it is gradually becoming out of date as China develops. The new government paper aims to revitalize such cooperative systems.

The paper on reforms in the agriculture supply and marketing cooperative system comes just two months after the central government issued its most important 2015 number one document, which focused on rural reforms. The system’s officials say the paper aims to modernize today’s agriculture cooperatives.

“Our cooperative system was a product of a socialist planned economy. It used to have great contributions to rural-urban developments. But as the agriculture sector develops, the system seemed to be losing touch with today’s farmers,” said Wang Hanmin, secretary-general, All China Fed. of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives.

The new paper lays out reforms that include establishing financing vehicles and also e-commerce platforms, to provide both funding and sales support to farmers who join the agriculture cooperatives. According to officials from one of the reform’s trial zones in Jiangsu province, the new measures are working.

“Many farmers that joined have benefited from a bigger sales platform and a stronger collective sales power,” said Zhang Baoguo, Head of CO-OP, Yihe Village, Jiangsu province.

Officials are also relying on the power of Internet platforms, to better connect the 32 million farmers across China’s cooperatives with customers. Officials hope that new technologies of e-commerce can help increase the power of China’s agriculture cooperatives.