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Training course nurtures agricultural innovation

By Zhang Yu in Shijiazhuang | China Daily | Updated: 2023-07-14 09:00

A training course for nurturing innovative agricultural talent is being held in Quzhou county of Handan, Hebei province, with more than 100 trainees from home and abroad participating.

The course — Training of Master Trainers for Establishing and Operating Multi-actor Agricultural Innovation Platforms — kicked off on Tuesday and will last seven days, according to the Quzhou Experimental Station of China Agricultural University, which is one of the course's co-hosts.

Another host is the Food and Agriculture Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger, according to its website.

Since 2009, Beijing-based China Agricultural University has launched about a dozen Science and Technology Backyard programs in Quzhou, where its graduate students can perform agricultural experiments with local farmers, giving farmers access to advanced methods and technology to improve their produce.

"The aim of the multi-actor agricultural innovation platforms, including the backyard programs, is to fill the last-mile innovation gap, namely empowering small-holder farmers and value chain actors to access innovative results and services, and thereby drive sustainable agricultural development," said Yang Puyun, an agricultural officer at the Office of Innovation with the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Multi-actors include researchers, farmers, enterprises, flour grinders and bread makers, he said, adding that agricultural innovation cannot happen without effective interactions among them.

"The Science and Technology Backyard is one of the most typical and successful multi-actor agricultural innovation platforms, in improving the sustainable development of agricultural value chains," Yang said.

The programs have nurtured about 100 graduate students and more than 80,000 farmers equipped with technological skills, said Meng Fanxiong, Party chief of the county.

The model has been promoted nationwide, with over 1,000 such programs established in 31 provinces and regions involving more than 200 agricultural products. It has also been promoted in Laos and countries in Africa with help from the FAO, Meng added.

People attending the training course include teachers and students from the backyard program, overseas students from Africa, and technology personnel from the county's bureau of agriculture and rural affairs, according to its hosts.

Teachers who give training lessons include agricultural officials from the FAO and professors from universities such as China Agricultural University, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in Fuzhou, Fujian province, and Southwest University in Chongqing.

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