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China, Germany to bolster food security

By LI LEI | China Daily | Updated: 2022-11-23 09:19

File photo of German and Chinese national flags in Beijing. [Photo/Agencies]

China hopes to work with Germany on a range of areas such as smart agriculture, breeding research and food loss avoidance as part of a broader effort to bolster global food security, Ma Youxiang, vice-minister of agriculture, said on Tuesday.

"Policy dialogues, business talks and technology sharing" will be increased in these areas between the two "all-around strategic partners" so that new technologies and better grain varieties can be applied in both nations, he said in a pre-recorded speech at a forum on Sino-German cooperation on food security.

The forum was part of the 8th Sino-German Agricultural Week, which opened on Monday in Beijing.

The six-day event, which has been shifted online amid a recent uptick of COVID-19 cases in the Chinese capital, features a range of keynote speeches and panel discussions by some of the most famed agrarians.

It was organized by the DCZ, or Sino-German Agricultural Center, which was established in Beijing by agricultural authorities in both countries in 2015.

Ma said that the two countries need to consider each other's most pressing needs as they plan for cooperation in the next five years and beyond, such as China's rural vitalization strategy, as well as how to reduce climate change's impact on farming.

He hoped that both sides will take the event as an opportunity to work with each other to address the global challenges hand in hand.

China has made a series of efforts to promote food security worldwide, such as proposing the Global Development Initiative last year, which highlighted the importance of food security, and offered food assistance to countries in dire need.

The country has also worked closely with international agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme, and held a number of international events to that end, including the International Conference on Food Loss and Waste (2021), International Forum on Black Soil Conservation and Utilization (2021) and the International Conference on Salt-Affected Soils (2022).

Ma also signaled that China wants to make the trade of farm produce more liberal and convenient, and expand trade in agricultural services.

Data provided by the ministry showed that the trade of agricultural products between the two countries reached $4.1 billion last year, more than seven times the 2000 level.

The first nine months this year have already seen $3.07 billion worth of farm produce change hands between Germany and China, a year-on-year increase of 1.5 percent, a telltale sign of the vigor and resilience of the bilateral trade.

Ophelia Nick, parliamentary state secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and Patricia Flor, Germany's ambassador to China, also addressed the forum virtually.

Nick said it is the joint responsibility of both countries to bolster sustainable food production and feed the world amid the climate crisis, COVID-19 pandemic and international conflicts.

DCZ offered a platform for the nations to work together to make their agriculture more sustainable, she said.

Flor highlighted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's recent visit to China. She said that both countries are committed to taking a leading role to curb global food shortages.

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