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150,000 kg of unsalable oranges sold out in one week by Zhao Binyu,March 04, 2020 Adjust font size:

Editor’s note: Recently, more than 50,000 poverty alleviation staff members in Hunan province’s villages have prepared for the spring growth season amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and the prevention and control measures that have been implemented. They have been actively mobilizing local workers and other members of the public in order to defeat both poverty and the virus.

My name is Song Liubin. I work for Changsha University of Science and Technology, in charge of the poverty alleviation work. I’m also the first secretary of the village Party branch in Jian’ganshan village, Xinning county, Shaoyang city, Hunan province. I would like to share my experiences with restoring economic activity in the village amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Feb. 9, I received a phone call from an impoverished villager named Yang Zihe when I stepped through the door of the village Party branch office. He told me anxiously that thousands of his oranges have become unsalable and were piling up around his home. I wondered what I could do to help.

His words impacted me deeply. These kinds of situations tend to affect me more than other things. Many of J ian’ganshan’s residents grow oranges. The yield was slightly lower than normal last year as a result of the lower-than-average rainfall that the village received. The sudden COVID-19 outbreak has caused problems with transportation and shipping in recent weeks. People had originally hoped to get good prices for their oranges around the Spring Festival period.

I determined how many kilograms of Jianganshan’s oranges were piling up while performing my COVID-19 prevention and control duties over the course of the next few days. I estimated that about 150,000 kg of the fruit were ready for sale in village. Some households had 1,000 or 2,000 kg on hand while others had up to15,000 kg.The situation was stressful for impoverished households.

It is important to make sure that poverty-stricken people do not suffer in times like these. I called He Shunbing and Yang Shunfei – two major orange growers –and asked them to purchase impoverished villagers’ oranges at slightly higher-than-market prices in order to help them and that we can figure out how to sell them later.

I worked with the county and relevant government offices at the town level to sell “Xinning oranges” on various e-commerce platforms. We used additional methods to promote them also. For example, faculty and other staff working at Changsha University of Science and Technology purchased 20,000 kg’s worth of oranges and donated them to medical professionals in COVID-19-affected Wuhan and Huanggang, Hubei province.

Our prevention and control work has been effective, and there has been renewed interest in Jianganshan’s oranges. We were able to sell the 150,000 kg’s worth of previously unsalable oranges in just a week. The village has snapped back into action, and the roads in the area have gradually gotten busier again. Local residents have been wearing surgical masks, packing their oranges, and loading them onto trucks.

Life is good! The harder we work, the better the future will be.

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