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Supporting Postal Enterprises to Provide Services to Agriculture, Rural Areas and Farmers


Supporting Postal Enterprises to Provide Services to Agriculture, Rural Areas and Farmers

By Liang Yangchun & Zhou Jianqi, DRC


The postal enterprises’ services to agriculture, rural areas and farmers have difficulty in gaining the approval of national policies, forming supporting local policies, removing the institutional barriers and fleshing out the rural credit system. Despite the “decisive progress” made in China’s anti-poverty efforts, the services to agriculture, rural areas and farmers remain a daunting task. The postal enterprises, by basing themselves on basic businesses and relying on their unique advantage of full coverage in the delivery sector, can blaze a trail of innovation for rural services.

Enabling postal enterprises to provide services for agriculture, rural areas and farmers could pave the way for implementing national strategies, but the following major issues need to be properly addressed in the first place. First, a host of rural programs fail to be fulfilled due to a number of reasons such as the high requirement for adequate farming and numerous uncertainties in rural production, the unsound rural social service system, the relatively low level of productive factors and their rapid transfer to urban areas, as well as the lack of land, funds, credits and other guarantee mechanisms. Second, agriculture is short of advanced technology, a strategic vision and market channels to take up market share from industry sector and the service sector whereas the latter could not provide professional knowhow to agriculture by managerial personnel. As a result, industrial barriers have undermined their integration. Third, the rural services are not defined precisely, with some rural service program undertakers not knowing or incapable of meeting the practical needs while the urgent demand of agriculture, rural areas and farmers also find it hard to identify their service entities. It should be noted that the integrated social services by postal enterprises can help find solutions to providing rural services. First, on the basis of postal infrastructure network, postal enterprises can gather various resources from government, companies and society based on state-owned enterprises (SOEs) while leveraging its “China Post” brand power, so that the last hurdle issue facing rural services can accordingly be solved. Second, relying on the strong post service network, post enterprises can offer assorted technological and socialized services to agriculture, rural areas and farmers. Third, to know about, focus on and take actions on the rural issues is helpful to make poverty relief programs become more targeted and better implemented.

Postal enterprises have some difficulties in offering rural services. First, it is hard to gain more support from national policies. Though postal enterprises have basically realized full coverage on rural issues and rural-related businesses have also gained the approval of the government, the available supportive policies remain limited. Second, local governments’ supporting policies for the rural issues are not put in place. There lack integrated cooperative programs with the provincial governments as well as a long-term mechanism for cooperation between government and businesses on rural issues. Third, the institutional arrangements still face barriers and are hard to be removed. Specifically, the national targeted anti-poverty mechanism has not yet been incorporated with postal enterprises; the postal enterprises have no sufficient inner incentives to meet the innovation demand. Fourth, a sound rural credit system could not be found. The rural areas have no good financial environment, and lack basic information. Besides, the assessment, credit, enforcement, guarantee and other key services in the financial credit system are either absent or not in place, thus causing difficulty in enhancing the rural financial services.

To make postal business serve the rural development, it is necessary to promote development with innovation, seek growth drivers from reform and gain support from relevant polices. First, we need to formulate the national postal strategy for the new era and construct a postal system with Chinese characteristics. Second, the national system design needs to be made well enough to flesh out the postal public service system. Third, we need to improve the rural services and the targeted anti-poverty policy system. Fourth, on the basis of further streamlining administration and delegating power to the lower levels, the local governments’ service function needs to be strengthened so as to better provide the rural services and implement the targeted poverty relief policies. Fifth, we need to encourage the postal enterprises to make innovation in business models and realize professional development of rural services. Sixth, the postal enterprises serving agriculture, rural areas and farmers can be taken as a trial project of SOEs’ rural services, and relevant policy measures need to be made and implemented.