China to reform agriculture supply and marketing co-ops

18 May 2015

The Chinese government plans to reform the country’s agriculture supply and marketing co-operative system. Last year the combined sales of China’s supply and marketing co-operatives reached Yuan 3.76tn ($612.4), with profits of Yuan 35.4bn.

In a paper issued earlier last month, the government highlights some key measures that need to be taken to revitalise the country’s co-operatives. These include establishing financing vehicles and e-commerce platforms to provide funding as well as sales support to farmers members of agricultural co-operatives. The government is also seeking to use online platforms to better connect farmer members with customers.

“Our co-operative 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,” explained Wang Hanmin, secretary general of All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives.

Reforming agricultural co-operatives is part of the central government’s plans for rural reform, set out in February this year. Some of the new measures have already been tested in the Jiangsu province.

“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.

The Ministry of Agriculture also announced on 30 April that it would allocate Yuan 23.4bn to support the appropriate management scale of grains, with a strong emphasis being placed on family farms and farmer co-operatives.

Rural land in China is usually under collective ownership. Farmers are part of the collective community and enjoy land use rights. Under the new pilot scheme, they will be allowed to turn their land use rights into shares in farming enterprises or co-operative societies.

 

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