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Mayor entertains more than 900,000 viewers in bid to tackle poverty

China Daily,May 11, 2020 Adjust font size:

In the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak, sales of local produce have become a pressing issue for many local governments in China.

This is no exception in Jingle, a county in northwestern Shanxi province.

On April 17, a middle-aged man appeared in a courtyard in Wangruizhuang village. He was trying to help sell local grains and handicrafts by livestreaming on the Pinduoduo e-commerce platform.

The man was Wang Xin, mayor of the county.

Jingle is renowned for coarse cereals such as corn, quinoa and millet, as well as handicrafts like paper-cutting.

Wang first made some papercuts by himself, telling his audience that the handicraft is a state-level intangible cultural asset.

After that he showed some corns, saying that readily made corn products can be eaten raw or cooked because they are produced and processed in an environmentally-friendly and safe manner.

After this he showed the local millet and quinoa products."Our yellow millet was a gift to royal families in history due to its prime quality. And quinoa is good for diabetes and hypertension patients," Wang added.

The mayor then told netizens how to cook millet in a way to keep it at its most nutritious state.

"Don't put the millet in the cooker when the water is still cool. Put it in when the water is about to boil," Wang said. He added that only by cooking it this way can the nutrition and best taste of millet be kept.

In addition to Mayor Wang's presentation, a local folk song and dance troupe joined in the livestream.

By 10 pm, the livestreaming event had attracted more than 930,000 viewers. More than 45,000 kilograms of corn, millet and quinoa, at a total value of 400,000 yuan ($56,440), had been ordered.

Wang said the livestream was targeted at helping poverty reduction in the county.

"We required the online dealers to prioritize lower-income households when they purchase grains and other produce," Wang said.

"Thanks to the netizens, their orders are a great contribution to our poverty-relieving efforts,"Wang added.

In Jingle, the planting area of coarse cereals including corn, millet and quinoa is 2,000 hectares at present. It accounts for more than 67 percent of the county's total grain-planting area, according to the county government.

Wang said that by launching this livestreaming event, he hopes more of Jingle's farm produce can be sold via various e-commerce platforms.

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