The Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in South Africa in December 2015 has raised the level of agricultural cooperation between China and African countries, as evidenced by the achievements made by Chinese agricultural missions working on the continent.
The Center of International Cooperation Service (CICOS) under the Ministry of Agriculture is one of the organizations that dispatch agricultural experts and teachers to assist agricultural development of African countries. Since the work began in 2006, a total of 677 agricultural experts and teachers in 67 groups have been dispatched to 35 African countries.
“Chinese agricultural experts and teachers have made breakthroughs in their respective fields through their innovative working approaches according to different conditions and have won praise from various parties,” said Tong Yu’e, Director General of CICOS at the annual China Agricultural Training and Aid Conference held by China’s Ministry of Agriculture in Beijing in December 2017.
Tong said these experts are playing the role of a bridge in promoting bilateral agricultural cooperation and that China will continue to improve its agricultural mission program to Africa.
Taking an overview of work done on the continent, ChinAfrica highlighted some of the main outcomes of the seven Chinese missions dispatched by the CICS to six African countries in 2017.
1. Mission to São Tomé and Principe
Chinese agricultural expert in São Tomé and Principe (COURTESY PHOTO)
In January 2017, China sent its first eight-member agricultural mission to São Tomé and Principe after bilateral diplomatic relations were resumed in December 2016. The mission introduced a variety of hybrid maize with an average yield doubling that of local varieties. Prime Minister Patrice Emery Trovoada paid tribute to Chinese experts who, he said, have unlocked the potential of the country’s agricultural and livestock sector by increasing supplies of cereals, vegetables and meat.
2. Mission to Zimbabwe
Wu Mingkui (left) shows students how to grow high-yield hybrid rice in Zimbabwe (COURTESY PHOTO)
In October 2015, a 10-member mission was dispatched to Zimbabwe to implement the second bilateral agricultural cooperation program. The experts conducted the first experiment on hybrid rice cultivation in Zimbabwe’s history. The six tested rice varieties yielded more than 10 tons per hectare, setting a new record for the country. The mission also filmed the first demonstration video on avian influenza virus antibody test in Zimbabwe.
3. Mission to Ethiopia
Zheng Aibao (right) explains the finer points of mushroom cultivation to local farmers (COURTESY PHOTO)
Eight Chinese agronomists arrived in Ethiopia in October 2015 as part of the second mission to the country. The experts have successfully launched an edible mushroom cultivation project in the Horn of Africa, filling Ethiopia’s gap in this field. Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture has launched a pilot project to promote the industrialization of the sector. In addition, the mission launched a pilot project for intensive wheat cultivation with a yield of 4.5 tons per hectare, more than double that of local varieties.
4. Mission to Djibouti
Chinese livestock expert Xiao Rongren (right) treats a sick camel in Djibouti (COURTESY PHOTO)
CICOS sent a four-member mission to Djibouti in November 2015 as part of the second Sino-Djiboutian joint agricultural cooperation program. Chinese experts have conducted a series of trials with ivermectin injection for the treatment and control of internal and external parasites in livestock, enabling them to better prevent and treat livestock skin diseases. The sea-cage farming pilot project carried out by the mission has also made it possible to establish fish farms at sea, and not only in rivers.
5. Mission to Mozambique
Chinese agriculture Fu Youqing (right) teaches local farmers how to make silage in Mozambique (COURTESY PHOTO)
A five-member mission was sent to Mozambique in November 2015 as part of the second bilateral agricultural cooperation program. Experts have trained local breeders in techniques to ensure a balanced crop supply throughout the year, such as silage. This helped increase local livestock breeding, which used to rely excessively on natural grazing. The mission also drafted 12 Portuguese-language manuals on key techniques such as vegetable farming and artificial insemination for cattle.
6. Mission to Burundi
Yang Huade (right), a Chinese agricultural expert working in Burundi, demonstrates rice growing technology to local farmers (COURTESY PHOTO)
The third phase of the Sino-Burundian agricultural cooperation program began with the arrival of an eight-member mission in November 2015. Their hybrid rice demonstration project achieved record rice production on the continent, yielding 12.5 tons per hectare, three times the average local rice production. “This achievement will go down in the history of Burundi and will inspire us more to look to Chinese technology to develop Burundian rice cultivation,” said Déo Guide Rurema, Burundian Minister of Agriculture and Livestock.
7. ATVET Mission to Ethiopia
Agricultural teacher Li Guofeng (second right) teachers Ethiopian students (COURTESY PHOTO)
The 10 first agricultural teachers arrived in Ethiopia in April 2001 as part of the Sino-Ethiopian cooperation program for agriculture technical vocational education and training (ATVET). Since then, 445 agricultural teachers in 18 missions have conducted ATVET in 13 Ethiopian educational institutions. They wrote nine textbooks and introduced more than 70 applied techniques to local counterparts and students.