August 27, 2018
By Joseph S. Margai in Beijing
An official of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in the People’s Republic of China has revealed to African journalists that China imports tobacco, citrons, cottons, fish meal, etc., from African countries under the China-Africa Agricultural Cooperation.
Ma Hongtao, Deputy Director General in the Department of International Affairs, who was speaking Friday, 24th August, in Beijing, also said China exports to African countries rice, tilapia, green tea, garlic, among other agricultural products.
Ms. Ma said China and Africa have common challenges in developing agriculture, hence they had formed a mutually beneficial agricultural cooperation.
“Various memoranda of understanding (MOUs) had been signed for bilateral and multilateral agricultural cooperation. Already 16 African countries had signed the MOU,” she said.
She revealed that they had established agricultural demonstration zones in five African countries and over 50,000 local people have been engaged to work in those zones.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs official said China has given 71 agricultural technical assistance to African countries, noting that 704 agricultural experts have already been sent to Africa to improve methods of agriculture.
“We are also on the verge of dispatching 34 additional experts to African countries. Over 100 practical agriculture technology methods had been introduced in African countries,” she noted.
In the area of human resource development, she said they had conducted 337 training workshops and trained 6,260 people from African countries in various agricultural techniques.
“Such trainings, which cover agricultural economy, planning, management and production technologies, played an active role in improving agriculture in African countries. Many of the trainees have become the backbones to the development of agriculture in their various countries,” she said.
Speaking on the issue of technology transfer to African agricultural sector, she said they had introduced hybrid rice cultivation in Mali and Senegal, among other countries, adding that the average yield per hectare is nine tons.
“In 2016, China invested US$1.27bn in 108 agricultural enterprises in 35 African countries. In 2017, the total trade in agricultural products between China and Africa reached US$6.02bn,” she revealed.
“By the end of 2017, China-Africa agricultural research institutions had signed a number of cooperation agreements to address bottleneck issues facing African countries in agricultural development. This was done through agricultural science, technology research and development cooperation, technology transfer, technology dissemination, scientific and technological exchanges,” she said.
Bai Lingyan, Deputy Director of Public Diplomacy Office in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who led the team of African journalists, told officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs that 29 journalists from 28 African countries were present at the meeting.
“These journalists are living, working and studying in China. They had already been here since February and they had visited some provinces, including many ministries, departments, etc., in China,” she said.
She said the meeting on media outreach on China-Africa Agricultural Cooperation was very important and timely especially when both Chinese government officials and their African counterparts are preparing for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) 2018 Beijing summit in September.