The 10th annual Steering Committee (SC) meeting of the Joint Laboratory for Bio-Safety of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) and CABI has highlighted a broad commitment to environmentally-friendly technology in agriculture.

The meeting, held at the Lvfulong Organic Farm in Yanqing, Beijing, China on 29 March, was the opportunity for officials and scientists from CABI and MARA to review the Joint Laboratory’s achievements and progress made in 2017 as well as approving its plans for 2018.

Before the SC meeting, the Joint Laboratory’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) also held a one-day meeting on 27 March at the Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IPP-CAAS).

Many of the plans approved for this year adopt the approaches of good agricultural practices, Integrated Pest Management, biological control, emphasising agricultural green technology development and uptake, and improving famers’ livelihoods.

In addressing both Chinese and global needs for food and nutritional security, food safety, greater innovation and sustainable development the Joint Laboratory, hosted by IPP-CAAS, achieved significant progress in all functions against its 2017 objectives and Medium-term Strategy (2016-2020).

Progress was made on the development and implementation of international development and research projects, scientific exchange, dissemination of scientific outputs, promotion of south-south co-operation and triangular collaboration, technology transfer and capacity building.

Highlights from 2017 included:

  • 77 scientific exchange visits conducted for project implementation and development
  • 5 seminars, workshops, 9 technical training activities and 2 international conferences organized in full or in part by the Joint Laboratory
  • Over 50 young scientists and postgraduate students of IPP-CAAS and other CAAS institutes were trained at the third Agricultural Entomology-IPM course and the fourth training course on experimental design and statistics
  • On team capacity building, researchers associated with the Joint Laboratory published 22 papers, gave a total of 13 oral presentations at international and Chinese conferences, and jointly supervised 5 MSc students, 2 PhD students and 9 bachelor level summer students.
  • The Joint Laboratory carried out a number of important research and development cooperation projects in 2017; its five biological control research projects have shown good progress. So have the other projects, which included the Sino-UK project using satellite information for pest and disease monitoring, control and forecasting under the Newton Agri-tech Programme, Plantwise implementation in China, a study of the occurrence, control, prevention and potential trade impacts of major crop pests and diseases along Belt and Road countries.
  • Important partnerships with institutions in Kenya, Germany, New Zealand and the UK have been developed or facilitated by the Joint Laboratory, with a view to promoting triangular collaboration, particularly on the Integrated Pest Management or biological control of invasive species, as part of the OBOR Plant Protection Plan.

In his opening remarks, Dr Tang Shengyao, Deputy Director General of International Co-operations, MARA, and Chairperson of the Steering Committee for 2017, informed SC members and other delegates of the priorities of the newly formed Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA).

He focused on the development of agriculture, the rural economy, farmers’ prosperity (termed collectively within China as San Nong) and on structure reform. He felt that having reached its 10th year of operation and with such strong prospects in China, the Joint Laboratory will play an ever more important role in addressing the current and future needs of Chinese agricultural development policies. Key areas of focus will include: innovation, value chain development, and sustainable and ecosystem services development.

Professor Wu Kongming, Vice President, CAAS, said, ‘The achievements of 2017 were obviously built on previous successes, and the strong support from the management of MARA, CAAS, IPP and CABI and good joint efforts of all concerned. It demonstrates why the Joint Laboratory is now regarded as one of the top platforms of its type within the Chinese agricultural research and development community, attracting international attention as a model for others. We need to develop a roadmap and work with more countries to further promote more green technology development and uptakes.’

‘Built on what we have achieved over the past 10 years, we look forward to strengthening the capability and reach of the Joint Laboratory by working with other institutes of CAAS, CAAS Graduate School, and other partners both in China and abroad, and kicking off some work at the European Laboratory,’ said Dr Ullrich Kuhlman, Executive Director, Global Operations, CABI. ‘Taking advantage of China’s OBOR and Agricultural Technology Going Abroad initiatives, and CABI’s network of member countries, international centres and partners, we are confident that the Joint Laboratory will achieve even greater results benefitting Chinese agriculture and beyond. We would therefore like to celebrate the 10th Anniversary at CABI’s Asian-Pacific Regional Consultation scheduled for the week of 15 October this year,’ continued Dr Kuhlman.

Dr Kuhlman received the honour of “International Friends Award” from CAAS at the 60th Anniversary of CAAS in May 2017, and was elected as the 2018 Chairperson of the SC.

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