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Packaged oranges are displayed at an exhibition center of "Taste of the Countryside" in Shouning county of southeast China's Fujian province. [Photo by Zhang Liying/China.org.cn]

By developing its "Taste of the Countryside" brand, Shouning county in southeast China's Fujian province is not only promoting sales of local agricultural products but also creating a model for the country's targeted poverty alleviation.

Located in the northeast of Fujian, Shouning county is a national water conservation area. The mountainous region has a forest coverage rate of more than 70%, and the fertile soil locally is rich in the trace elements zinc and selenium.

With such superior natural environment, Shouning is home to various high-quality agricultural products, such as tea, chestnuts and oranges. However, due to lack of a recognized brand and efficient sales channels, the products failed to secure good income for local villagers.

The county was then registered as a key target of the provincial government's development-oriented poverty-reduction work.

In order to enhance the competitiveness of regional agricultural products, the local government launched a brand building initiative in 2014, helping villagers across the county sell their goods using the same brand name "Taste of the Countryside".

At the same time, a model featuring close coordination between online platforms, agricultural cooperatives and villagers was established to restructure the rural industrial chain and connect smallholder famers more closely with the wider national market.

In an interview, Jiang Youguang, brand manager of "Taste of the Countryside", explained: "Our cooperatives integrate individual farmers and guide them to cultivate plants and livestock according to uniform standards, so that we can achieve economies of scale and ensure the quality of the products.

"Through online platforms, we can market our products to more customers and enable them to monitor and track the growing or planting process. We have signed sales agreement with more than 100 companies, including Vanke, Xiamen Airlines and the State Grid."

An e-commerce company was also set up to manage the sales, with 70% of the management team members holding a bachelor's degree or higher.

According to government statistics, the brand building initiative now covers 28 categories of agricultural products, helping increase income for 1,950 rural households, including 467 poverty-stricken ones, across the county.

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Bottles of tea seed oil are displayed at an exhibition center of "Taste of the Countryside" in Shouning county of southeast China's Fujian province. [Photo by Zhang Liying/China.org.cn]