Tuesday, May 29, 2018

China's Vision for Ag Science Cooperation

China's vision for solving global problems through international collaboration in agricultural science under the "one belt-one road" initiative was laid out in an article in State media this week.

The head of China's Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Wu Kongming, sees great potential for food production in the abundant water and soil resources and high quality ecological environment of belt-road countries. He said “one belt-one road” agricultural cooperation can promote orderly regional flows of agricultural factors of production and deepen agricultural market integration. Exchange of experience in agricultural development and bringing into play the comparative advantages of each country can maximize the potential for agricultural development, advancing mutually beneficial opportunities for each country, Wu said.

According to the article, China's Ministry of Agriculture drew up a vision for banding together various government departments, research institutes, and agricultural enterprises to carry out global agricultural cooperation in 2014.

Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) International Cooperation Bureau Director Gong Xifeng explained that CAAS now has over 60 foreign agricultural technology projects. China’s seeds, veterinary drugs, machinery, and plant protection technology help “one belt-one road” countries raise production, increase income of farmers, and raise the competitiveness of agricultural products, he said. China’s plan for sharing ag technology features rice, specifically “green super rice” for which they say got aid from Gates Foundation.

The Chinese strategy includes setting up joint laboratories in various countries to take advantage of genetic resources through gene sequencing, developing new varieties, etc. Examples are a joint cotton lab in Uzbekistan and a survey of cotton resources in East Africa.

The Chinese Academy of Ag Sciences sends scholars abroad and are hosting hundreds of grad students and researchers to build goodwill abroad. Mr. Gong said CAAS now has 395 foreign students, of whom 70% are from belt-road countries.

Most Chinese projects abroad are conducted by commercial entities, and CAAS is developing offices and platforms to support companies by supplying them with info about the countries. China also has a plan to nurture a new generation of domestic personnel who can speak foreign languages and understand agricultural technology (a big bottleneck to efforts to go abroad to date) to work in Chinese companies and embassies abroad.

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