China Focus: Chinese farmers embrace harvest festival as bidding farewell to poverty

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-23 22:32:33|Editor: yan
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BEIJING, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Holding a grapefruit in her hand, Lin Liling, deputy head of Pinghe County, east China's Fujian Province, promotes the local specialty to audiences nationwide in a live-streaming chatroom.

The Chinese farmers' harvest festival is the first national festival held specifically for the country's farmers. Starting in 2018, the festival coincides with the Autumnal Equinox each year, which is one of the 24 solar terms of the Chinese lunisolar calendar and usually falls between Sept. 22 and 24 during the country's agricultural harvest season.

With the coming of the harvest festival, many county-level officials started setting up live-streaming broadcasts to help villagers promote their agricultural products. Many e-commerce platforms including Alibaba are also lending a hand.

Together with 1,000 agrarian areas and 832 national-level poverty-stricken counties, Alibaba will launch a 50-day campaign to send red envelopes worth a total of 1 billion yuan (about 141 million U.S. dollars) to consumers, to help sell 1 billion individual farm products.

In 2018, Alibaba promoted the sale of more than 300 million agricultural products on the first harvest festival, and the online sales exceeded 20 billion yuan.

As of 2018, China's rural population stood at about 560 million. During the festival, farmers across the country celebrate the bountiful harvest that has brought them increasing incomes.

The national celebration features a variety of cultural events, including performances, harvest cultural exhibitions and farming experiences.

In a farmland-themed scenic spot of Shangan Village in north China's Shanxi Province, led by teachers and parents, children from more than 100 kindergartens dug sweet potatoes and picked dates. The village also launched an activity to let the children experience sheep herding, which increases the income of poor households by about 1,000 yuan per month.

"Farming culture is the origin of Chinese civilization," said Zang Yusheng, founder of the project, "Involving children in farming activities can help them better understand the countryside."

With a population of 158, Shangan used to be a poverty-stricken village, but thanks to rural tourism, it was lifted out of poverty in 2017.

When the local government first launched poverty alleviation work in the village in 1987, the average annual income of Shangan was only 500 yuan. However, by 2018, the figure had reached 10,560 yuan.

The village will come up with more cultural activities in the future, which will further increase farmers' incomes and accelerate the development of rural tourism, Zang said.

Zhang Lijun, a villager of Shangan, started his farm tourism business a few years ago and he is now out of poverty. "The harvest festival has brought us more tourists, at the same time, the tourism industry has increasingly attracted young workers nationwide to return to their villages and start their own businesses," he said.

Located in the city of Weinan in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Dali County is known as the home of the winter jujube. In a trade center in the county on Monday, orchard workers are busy weighing, sorting and packaging the fruit.

"I earned 10,000 yuan today," said Yang Hongyi, an orchardman.

The county's winter jujube plantation area has reached 28,000 hectares with an output value of nearly 5 billion yuan.

"Nowadays, 70 percent of the village's rural households have bought cars and houses," said Zhou Aiying, an official in Dali.