Sharing Agricultural Development Experience and Holding Joint Discussion on Rural Development Strategies
On September 13, the 3rd China-ASEAN Agricultural Cooperation Forum was held in Nanning, Guangxi. About 150 officials from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Food Program, International Fund for Agricultural Development and other international organizations, and China and ASEAN countries, as well as the corporate representatives participated in the forum. Focusing on the theme of “Sharing Agricultural Development Experience, Holding Joint Discussion on Rural Development Strategies, and Co-building a Regional Development Community”, the participants exchanged with each other in respect of important issues such as strengthening the China-ASEAN agricultural cooperation.
It is understood that from 2004 to 2017, the trade volume between Guangxi and ASEAN increased from 8.29 billion yuan to 189.39 billion yuan. In 2017, the total export-import volume of agricultural products of the two sides amounted to 32.6 billion US dollars. Therefore, the ASEAN-oriented agricultural opening-up and cooperation pattern in Guangxi has, by and large, taken shape.
Fang Chunming, vice chairman of the People's Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said at the forum: "Agricultural cooperation is a key area for China-ASEAN cooperation. In recent years, Guangxi has given full play to its advantages in location, resources and ecology to actively exchange and cooperate with ASEAN countries in agricultural demonstration and experiment, agricultural technology exchange and talent training, agricultural resources development, agricultural product trade and other aspects."
Such exchange and cooperation have brought new opportunities for the development of bilateral agricultural business development. According to the representatives of Laos, the Lao government currently regards agriculture as a national pillar industry and is endeavoring to promote agricultural investment and international investment cooperation. Meanwhile, the Lao government is continually improving the value chain of bulk commodities to fully explore the added value of agricultural products such as paddy rice, corn, coffee, tea, fruits, vegetables, livestock products and other agricultural products.
On the 12th, Han Zheng, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council, stressed at the opening ceremony of the 15th China-ASEAN Expo and the Business and Investment Summit that, China and ASEAN shall further promote trade and investment cooperation and give full play to the role of the China International Import Expo and the China-ASEAN Expo and other platforms to expand imports from ASEAN countries, and that Chinese companies are encouraged to expand investment in ASEAN countries to result in full operation of the upgraded China-ASEAN Free Trade Area.
In his speech, Pham Quang MINH, the representative of the ASEAN Secretariat, put forward the following several suggestions in this regard: first, to promote the quality and efficiency of agricultural development; second, to promote trade facilitation by further promotion of market integration and confirmation and elimination of trade barriers; third, to attach importance to food security and nutrition security; fourth, to jointly cope with climate change.
Since 2002, when China and ASEAN signed the "Framework Agreement on China-ASEAN Comprehensive Economic Cooperation" with focus on the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, the agricultural cooperation and exchange mechanism between the two sides has been continuously improved, and the intensity and extensiveness of the agricultural cooperation has been deepened. This promotes the fruitful results in the economic and trade field and drives the development of agricultural and rural sectors on both sides.
“Since the signing of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, the relationship between the two sides has been strengthened and the demand for food has grown rapidly, which creates huge market opportunities for us and brings us a great number of challenges,” said Khin Zaw, Permanent Secretary of Myanmar's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, while pointing that, most of the farmers in Myanmar are small ones, so they are faced with problems such as low agricultural productivity and investment and limited input and output capacity.
According to the situation, the representative of Myanmar said in his keynote speech that, the Myanmar government is making full use of the opportunity of deepened China-ASEAN cooperation to learn China's advanced agricultural technologies and management experience, and help improve productivity and competitiveness of domestic agricultural sector with focus on economic and trade loans, technical assistance, policy support and other aspects, in light of domestic actual conditions. Meanwhile, the Myanmar government also aims to take advantages of the China-ASEAN platform to promote the formation of sustainable development models in rural areas by drawing on the experience of rural development in other countries, inviting foreign experts for inspection and creating model villages.
Khin Zaw said, “it is expected that we can learn from each other's experience in implementing agricultural development strategies, promote long-term mutually beneficial cooperation, and play a role in national agricultural development and rural revitalization.”
In addition, the Lao representative also introduced the new rural development strategy currently being implemented in Laos, which integrates “the Belt and Road” initiative and the China-ASEAN Connectivity Plan. Specifically, the agricultural industry cluster is established to improve the level of rural organizational development, support emerging agricultural subjects, and promote rural development strategy via the institutionalization of South-South cooperation.
After deliberation at the forum, the year 2019 has been identified as the "China-ASEAN Rural Exchange Year", and "the Cooperation Proposal on Assisting ASEAN entities in Rural Development Cooperation by China Overseas Agricultural Development Alliance" will be published, and the English version of "The Collection of the Cases on the Chinese Rural Entrepreneurial Innovation in Typical Counties" will be compiled. (Ma Jingnan, Liang Xiaohua)