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Ministers Say
Advancing Agricultural Cooperation
 ChinAfrica December 2015

 
Chinese and African people's friendly exchanges have a long history, and their friendship remains unshakable. Chinese President Xi Jinping said, "China and Africa have always been a community of shared destinies. Similar historical experiences, common development tasks and shared strategic interests have bound us together. The defining feature of China-Africa relations is sincerity, friendship, mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development." Agricultural cooperation has always been the focus of China-Africa cooperation. Since 2000, when the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was founded, in particular, agricultural cooperation between China and African countries have shown a sound momentum, being comprehensive, diversified and extensive.

Raising the level 

China and Africa have launched a series of pragmatic and efficient agricultural cooperation projects under the framework of FOCAC, with remarkable results.

First, positive achievements have been made in building, with aid from China, agricultural technology demonstration centers in Africa. Since 2006, we've helped African countries build 25 agricultural technology demonstration centers. Through experimental demonstration, technology training and joint research, these centers have raised the host countries' agricultural technology level and boosted the development of local agriculture and rural economy.

Second, agricultural technology exchanges and cooperation have been deepened. Since 2006, China's Ministry of Agriculture has sent 48 agricultural expert teams, consisting of 224 members, to 34 African countries. We've sent agricultural vocational teacher teams to Ethiopia for 15 consecutive years, involving a total of 338 teachers. Our experts and teachers have provided training to more than 50,000 participants, which included local officials, teachers, technicians, students and farmers.

Third, investment in agricultural development and trade has expanded. By the end of 2014, China's investment in African agricultural sector had exceeded $700 million, accounting for 8 percent of its total outbound agriculture investment. China's trade in agricultural products with Africa soared from $600 million in 2001 to $6.1 billion in 2014.

Fourth, cooperation in food security has been strengthened. While providing emergency humanitarian food aid to African countries, we've always been committed to giving full play to our advantages in agricultural technology and human resources, participating in agricultural development and infrastructure construction in Africa, and sharing our technologies and experiences in agricultural production to help them enhance their capacity in food security.

Finally, the multilateral South-South agricultural cooperation under the framework of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Special Program for Food Security has been carried out smoothly. Since 2000, China has signed tripartite South-South cooperation agreements with more than 10 African countries such as Nigeria and Tanzania, sending more than 900 agricultural experts and technicians in plantation, livestock, aquaculture, water conservancy and gardening to help train local technicians and guide their agricultural production.

Common development  

Africa has great potential in agricultural development. China and Africa are highly complementary in agriculture and have broad prospects for agricultural cooperation. While the world economic situation is undergoing profound changes, further promoting China-Africa agricultural cooperation is of great significance. China is willing to uphold the principle of equality, mutual benefit and win-win results, and further strengthen agricultural cooperation with African counties, with their respective strengths brought into full play. This is aimed to help African countries improve their agricultural development and aligh capacity in guaranteeing supply.

Implementing the measures President Xi announced at the High-level Roundtable on South-South cooperation at the UN headquarters in New York in September. In a keynote speech at the meeting, President Xi said in the next five years, China will provide 120,000 opportunities for citizens of other developing countries to receive short-term training and 150,000 opportunities for receiving degree education in China. It will also carry out 100 agricultural cooperation projects. We will earnestly implement these proposals, taking active measures to ensure these agricultural projects come true in Africa and expanding the training scale of agricultural management and technical personnel, thereby enhancing agricultural technology levels of African countries.

Pushing forward agricultural cooperation with Africa within the framework of the Initiative of Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (the Belt and Road Initiative). Proposed by President Xi in 2013, the initiative is of historical significance for promoting world peace and development. China would like to deepen agricultural cooperation with Africa within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and share with African countries its experiences in agricultural development and advanced agricultural technologies in order to help them increase the output of grain and other farm crops.

Implementing the High Quality and High Yield Agriculture Demonstration Project in African countries. While implementing the project, we will encourage and guide Chinese companies and research institutions to select key countries and key varieties to conduct experimental demonstration on high-quality and high-yield varieties, promote joint research on breeding, seed production, cultivation techniques and technology adaptation.

Promoting cooperation between China and Africa in investment in agriculture and trade in agricultural products. Measures will be taken to improve multilateral and bilateral mechanisms for agricultural cooperation, optimizing policy environment for agriculture investment and development and facilitating services. We will encourage enterprises with good strengths and reputation to engage in investment and development in areas of agricultural production, processing, storage and logistics in Africa. We will also assist in local construction of roads, water conservancy and irrigation projects and other agricultural infrastructure facilities, and push forward the construction of agricultural cooperation development zones, in a bid to boost the development of trade in agricultural products between China and African countries.

Continuing to deepen multilateral South-South cooperation on agriculture. China donated $30 million to FAO in 2009 and $50 million in 2014, setting up special trust funds for South-South cooperation in agriculture. While focusing on food security and nutrition, poverty reduction and agricultural sustainability, China will continue to make best use of these funds to send more agricultural experts to Africa, promote the multilateral pragmatic agricultural cooperation, and help African countries enhance their capacity of food security.

In his speech made during his visit to Tanzania in 2013, President Xi stressed, "China has made historic progress in its development. However, no matter how developed it may become, China will always see African countries as its tested friends." The FOCAC Johannesburg Summit will provide a new historic opportunity for the development of China and African countries. At this new historic starting point, further deepening China-Africa agricultural cooperation conforms to the will of people on both sides. I believe that through our concerted efforts, China-Africa agricultural cooperation is bound to have a brighter future.

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