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Monday, May 22, 2006

China sends 3000 scientists to poor nations, focus on food security, farming

At least 3,000 Chinese scientists will spend three years working in rural communities in developing countries to help improve their food security, China's Ministry of Agriculture confirmed on Friday (19 May).

The arrangement is part of a strategic partnership between China and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that was agreed at the FAO's Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific in Jakarta, Indonesia last week.

"Chinese science and agriculture have much to offer, as intensive agriculture has been practiced on very small plots of land in China for centuries," said Tesfai Tecle, FAO assistant director-general for technical cooperation.

Tecle said China's commitment to helping other countries improve food security would be a major contribution towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goal of halving hunger by 2015.

Over the next six years, Chinese scientists and technicians will be deployed for three-year assignments in host countries. They will share practical expertise relating to irrigation, agronomy, livestock, fisheries and post-harvest handling of agricultural produce.

The China-FAO collaboration is part of the South-South Cooperation Initiative that the FAO launched in 1996. The programme aims to increase food production by promoting cooperation among developing countries at different stages of development.

The recipient countries will be jointly selected from a list of potential beneficiaries provided by the FAO.

China has already sent more than 700 experts and technicians to at least 20 countries mostly in Africa and Asia, says Zhao Lijun, an official at the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.

Zhao Huanxin



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