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Sharing skills, ideas helps nations beat poverty

By LI LEI | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-08-23 07:07

A staff member displays corn seeds at a seed factory of Longping High-Tech Brazil, a company in Jardinopolis, Brazil, in March. Invested in by China and named after a renowned Chinese crop scientist, the company is dedicated to developing seeds suitable for the climate and soil of Brazil. WANG TIANCONG/XINHUA

More than 700 agricultural researchers and technicians from South Africa joined a virtual training session last month jointly organized by their country's Human Sciences Research Council and China's Ministry of Science and Technology.

During the three-day event, the Chinese side highlighted how expertise provided by government-appointed technicians had helped once-impoverished farmers switch to more lucrative crops and prosper financially.

The story of authorities' successful fostering of the fungus industry in the wheat-growing province of Shaanxi to bolster rural incomes was one of the cases used by Chinese speakers to illustrate their point. Agrotechnicians, who have command of both farming techniques and market information, have a large role to play in curbing rural poverty, they said.

The Chinese experts suggested that their South African counterparts do the same as they seek to emulate China in combating rural poverty and achieving common prosperity.

The event was one of a growing number of training programs held by China and South Africa to boost knowledge-sharing in farming and poverty management. Both countries are members of the grouping of the world's leading emerging economies BRICS — which also includes Brazil, Russia and India.

Other Chinese entities involved in such exchanges include the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, China Agricultural University, and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. By the end of 2021, China had helped train more than 350 farming technicians, management personnel, and doctoral and graduate students from South Africa, official data showed.

The knowledge transfer with South Africa is typical of similar programs unfolding between China and other BRICS economies, which together account for about 42 percent of the global population.

Training sessions arranged by the Freshwater Fisheries Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, for example, have helped train more than 40 fishery experts in recent decades, People's Daily reported.

Sharing of expertise, which is crucial to improving the productivity of farmers from BRICS nations, is gaining greater significance due to more frequent extreme weather and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

On Aug 12, Tang Renjian, minister of agriculture and rural affairs, attended the 13th BRICS Ministers of Agriculture meeting in Limpopo, South Africa.

While addressing the event, he described BRICS countries as the "cornerstone" of global food security.

As global food security is facing serious challenges, strengthening solidarity and cooperation among BRICS countries is more important than ever, he told the event.

As responsible major countries, BRICS nations should promote sustainable development in agricultural cooperation, continuously increase investment in green agricultural technology, research and promotion. They should also enhance their ability to address climate change, accelerate the comprehensive green transformation of agriculture, and use technology to enhance the level of sustainable agricultural development, he noted. "Together, we can collectively address external challenges," he said.

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