A mobile farming game that allows players to grow and sell virtual food is helping alleviate real poverty in poor counties.
The Mobile farming game, Happy Farmer, is available as a mini program for WeChat and was released last month jointly with the poverty reduction office under the Ministry of Finance.
It is set on virtual maps of farmland in poverty-stricken Yongsheng county in Yunnan province, Pingjiang county in Hunan province and Fenxi county in Shanxi province.
Players can earn credits through selling the virtual products they have grown or by viewing advertisements embedded in the game.
Those credits can then be used as discount coupons in the market section of the game to purchase real goods, such as rice and fruits, produced by local farmers in those counties.
All of the advertising revenue and the income from selling products through the outlet will be used to support poverty alleviation work in these counties.
All of the virtual products in the game represent real local specialties produced in the pilot counties. Photos and descriptions for these products are also available.
Players can share the link to these local specialties with three friends and form a group to purchase these products and help poor farmers. Players can also view a real-time report about how much they have contributed to help these counties fight poverty.
As China’s fight against poverty enters a new phase that focuses on targeted, precise solutions, the government has been seeking innovative ways to make the efforts more effective.
In 2018, China lifted 13.8 million people in rural areas out of poverty, with the number of impoverished rural residents dropping from 98.9 million in late 2012 to 16.6 million by the end of last year.
China has vowed to eradicate absolute poverty by the end of 2020.