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Clicks and Mortar Purchase of Fresh Farm Produce


Data released by China E-Commerce Research Center in 2015 say e-commerce in China reached US$ 2.1 trillion for total market value, indicating a 31.4 per cent growth in 2014.[1] As China is now the world’s largest e-commerce market,[2] farmers can benefit from the trend where purchasing goods is done by clicking the mouse or tapping a smartphone. As a matter of fact, data from China’s Ministry of Agriculture show that farm produce online transactions amounted to US$ 16.1 billion in 2014.[3]

Cognizant of the vast potential of e-commerce to help farmers sell their products, the government plans to invest around $22 billion by 2020 to see at least 50,000 villages and around 98 per cent of China’s rural areas having web access. The project, which is an e-commerce development plan launched by China’s commerce and finance ministries, is aimed at providing information services to help farmers in more than 200 counties have access to the Internet.[4]

Similarly, there are now projects designed not only to help farmers sell their produce quickly using the Internet but also to enable health-conscious consumers buy organic agricultural products. These projects let consumers buy directly from the farmers of organically grown fruits and vegetables with the use of their mobile phones and allow them to have access to a list of farms that sell “green” produce, minimising the amount of time otherwise required to make a farm-to-dining table transaction.