New Business Model Boosting Rural Economy

July 22, 2019
Editor: Sun Muyao
Ge Wen [Women of China]

 

Ge Wen was born in Taoyuan, a village in Banqiao, a town in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province. After she graduated from the International Trade Department of Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University, in 2005, she and some of her friends started their own international-trade business. She later pursued further studies in Australia. In 2013, she returned home from Australia and continued her foreign-trade business.

Ge's parents owned a large chicken farm, which they had run for more than 30 years. As they grew older, they needed help in running the chicken farm. So, Ge quit her job, without hesitation, in 2016 and began working with her parents.

Based on her parents' farm, Ge established Yuncai Agriculture Company. As a woman entrepreneur, she realized she needed to be passionate about her business, and she needed to stick to her career.

Meeting Difficulties

Ge encountered many difficulties when she first began working on the farm. At that time, she felt the traditional way of raising chickens was outdated in the new era. On one hand, feeding chickens by hand resulted in lower efficiency and higher labor cost. On the other hand, customers preferred to buy high-quality agricultural products.

So, Ge decided to establish a mechanized chicken farm, and to raise high-grade chickens.

Her father, who preferred the traditional breeding and sales model, disagreed with Ge. But Ge insisted their business had to be upgraded, and that they should establish their own brand and use online marketing strategies to promote their business.

Ge soon hit a snag. Courier companies were not willing to deliver eggs, because the eggs were easily broken. She eventually found a package-design company in Hangzhou that could provide suitable packages to ensure the eggs would not be broken during delivery. The products of Ge's company were gradually well- received by customers.

However, heavy snowfall hit the area in January 2018. The heavy snow caused a chicken house to collapse, and that resulted in the deaths of about 15,000 laying hens and a direct loss of more than 3 million yuan (US $447,761). A short time later, a disease outbreak and a fire caused further damages to the chicken farm. The setbacks didn't scare off Ge. Her resolve strengthened, and she improved her ability to handle stress.

Ge works on the farm. [Women of China]

 

New Ideas

To expand production scale, Ge carefully selected high-quality breeds and began raising the chickens in the fields. She established a unified egg-delivery system, and established customized delivery and product- tracking systems. Professional personnel test the eggs and monitor the chickens regularly to ensure the safety of the products.

Ge established an exhibition and sales center, to showcase and sell local agricultural products. She plans to open a parent-child experience center, to encourage the participation of her customers, and to win their trust. She also plans to develop agricultural tourism, to give more people an opportunity to experience rural life.

The high-quality products offered by Ge are popular among customers. Last year, the annual output value of her company surpassed 20 million yuan (US $2.98 million). The online sales model has been successful. Earlier this year, Ge's father announced his retirement, and Ge took over the chicken farm.

The farm has about 100,000 chickens at any given time. Ge's company has been honored as one of the leading agricultural companies in Hangzhou, and as the leading chicken- and egg-production base in the province.

In 2016, Ge's company cooperated with scientific research institutes, and it received two patents for upgraded breeding devices. The company's new business model–"agriculture plus the Internet"–has brought vitality to the development of the rural economy. The company has created more job opportunities.

Ge's company's new business model–"agriculture plus the Internet"–has brought vitality to the development of the rural economy. [Women of China]

 

Bright Future

Ge has a good team of young, passionate and well- educated employees. Those employees are dedicated to building a bridge between farmers and customers, and in providing green and healthy foods directly to customers.

With the purpose of "protecting a piece of land, supporting local farmers, promoting the local economy and improving locals' incomes," Ge and her team help promote the local agricultural products and increase sales of the products.

In January this year, Ge rented seven hectares to grow peach trees. She has also organized a peach blossom festival. Customers can pay some money to become owners of the trees. She plans to build a farm where people can enjoy leisure time.

She hopes more young villagers will return to their hometowns to start businesses. "Agricultural work is painstaking, but it can be beautiful as well. As new farmers in the new era, we have our dreams, and we are not afraid of enduring hardships," Ge says.

 

(Women of China)

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