Farmers are becoming wealthier as improved logistics convenience boosts sales of agricultural produce. Luo Wangshu reports.
Receiving orders online, picking citrus fruit from the trees and sending the goods to parcel delivery stations: This is the daily work routine of farmer and promoter Zhang Furong, who lives in a village in Southwest China's Sichuan province.
But less than eight months ago, the 28-year-old was working as an internal inspector in a cubicle at PwC, a global accounting and auditing company, in Chengdu, the provincial capital.
In May, she quit her white-collar job and returned home to help her family sell their fruit. Last year, the citrus trees in the family orchid bore fruit for the first time, six years after they were planted.
That same month, a parcel station was opened in Zhengshankou village, Zhang's hometown, which was a catalyst to help her sell the fruit.
"The facilities have been improved in the village in many respects, such as the new parcel station. We used to make deliveries and pickups in Duoyue township, which is far away and more expensive. In the past, the station was usually crowded and customers always had to wait in line," she said, adding that the road has been sealed and the village now has access to the internet.
In the past, local fruit growers relied on selling their produce to dealers who visited the village, but they rarely had the leverage to bargain over the sums they were paid. With the boom of e-commerce, some pioneers began to sell their fruit online, receiving a higher price, but the inconvenient logistics system remained a challenge until the parcel station opened in the village.
Zhang started by selling her fruit on WeChat, before moving on to other produce. To ensure good quality, Zhang heads to the parcel delivery station immediately after the fruit has been picked and sends it to customers nationwide. The customers usually receive their orders within three days.
Like her home, Zhang's orchards are close to the station, and even from the most distant orchard, it takes less than 10 minutes for her to ride there on her electric bike.
"We just place the basket at the station and 'big sister' Zhang (a station employee) helps us wrap the fruit and make the delivery. Sometimes when I am busy and my father picks and sends the fruit, I just text big sister Zhang and she helps my father finish processing the delivery," Zhang Furong said, adding that the procedures are very easy.
She began to sell homegrown tangerines on WeChat in October. They sold surprisingly well. She quickly sold out of tangerines from the family orchid, so she started to help her neighbors sell their fruit online for a commission.
"My neighbors are very happy because I sell at a better price online, and the fruit dealers often offered lower prices," she said, adding that her neighbors still earn more, even after she takes her commission.
Zhang Furong earns extra money and her neighbors get a better price for their goods: It is a win-win solution for everyone, and now she makes more money than when she dealt with numbers at PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers.