BRI help­ing China en­hance global food ties

China Daily European Weekly - - Business - XIN­HUA

China is en­hanc­ing agri­cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion with coun­tries par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive in the hope of mak­ing a greater con­tri­bu­tion to global agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment and eco­nomic growth.

“China will of­fer pol­icy and fi­nan­cial sup­port to food trade and in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, to en­cour­age Chi­nese grain en­ter­prises to co­op­er­ate with BRI coun­tries,” Zhang Wufeng, head of the State Grain and Re­serves Ad­min­is­tra­tion, said at a re­cent in­ter­na­tional food co­op­er­a­tion fo­rum in Lanzhou, North­west­ern China’s Gansu prov­ince.

Dur­ing the fo­rum, Gansu reached agree­ments to im­port qual­ity wheat from Be­larus and ex­port its pota­toes and olive oil to Azer­bai­jan.

“Agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment is a com­mon con­cern among the BRI coun­tries,” says Elsa Asadov, vi­cepres­i­dent of Azer­bai­jan Agri­cul­tural Prod­ucts Sup­ply and Mar­ket­ing Corp.

“We look forward to es­tab­lish­ing a more ef­fec­tive part­ner­ship with China, hop­ing to ex­port Azer­bai­jan’s or­ganic food and bring in China’s agri­cul­tural tech­nol­ogy, in­vest­ment and ex­pe­ri­ence.”

In an­cient times, agri­cul­tural ex­changes were ac­tive along the Silk Road, which brought crops in­clud­ing sesame and pomegranates to China and took Chi­nese tea and silk to Cen­tral Asia.

To­day, with most BRI coun­tries work­ing on re­duc­ing hunger, poverty and en­sur­ing food se­cu­rity, agri­cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion is still a com­mon ex­pec­ta­tion.

Zhang said at the fo­rum that China has sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved its abil­ity to en­sure food se­cu­rity in re­cent years, be­ing able to feed 20 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion with 10 per­cent of the world’s cul­ti­vated land and 6 per­cent of its fresh wa­ter.

“There are still 37 coun­tries in the world that still need food aid. BRI coun­tries have com­ple­men­tary ad­van­tages and can pro­mote food trade and co­op­er­a­tion,” Zhang said.

Ac­cord­ing to a na­tional ac­tion plan un­der the frame­work of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive re­leased in 2017, prov­inces in western China will co­op­er­ate with Cen­tral Asia on grain, an­i­mal hus­bandry and cot­ton, while north­ern prov­inces will work with the Rus­sian Far East on grain and veg­eta­bles, and south­ern prov­inces will grow grain and trop­i­cal cash crops in col­lab­o­ra­tion with coun­tries in South­east and South Asia.

Cheng Guo­qiang, a pro­fes­sor at Tongji Uni­ver­sity in Shang­hai, says the new round of in­ter­na­tional agri­cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion will help im­prove in­te­grated pro­duc­tion ca­pa­bil­ity in BRI coun­tries and re­gions.

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