28 February 2017 – The 9th Steering Committee (SC) meeting of the Joint Laboratory for Biosafety between the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and CABI was held successfully in Beijing, China on 23 February 2017. All 8 committee members and other delegates from both China and CABI were very pleased with the good progress the Joint Laboratory achieved in 2016, and approved its plans for 2017, including the budget and the Medium-term Strategy 2016-2020.

In addressing both Chinese and global needs for food and nutritional security, the Joint Laboratory, hosted by the Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IPP-CAAS) achieved significant progress against all its objectives in 2016 through joint development and implementation of international development and research projects, scientific exchange and research team building, dissemination of scientific outputs, promotion of south-south co-operation and triangular collaboration, technology transfer and capacity building.

In 2016, more than 70 scientific exchange visits were conducted for the Joint Laboratory project implementation, development and training. The second Agricultural Entomology-IPM course and the third training course on experimental design and statistics trained 70 young scientists and students. Good results were achieved in six research projects on biological control of invasive species and three development cooperation projects focusing on IPM technology transfer to other developing countries, such as Myanmar, Laos and Rwanda. The successful implementation of a one-year project – A system to improve the rational use of pesticides against locusts under the Newton Agritech Program, led to winning a new three-year project – Integrating advanced earth observation and environmental information for sustainable management of crop pests and diseases – funded by the UK and Chinese donors. This project aims to bring together cutting edge research to provide pest and disease monitoring and forecast information, and integrate multiple sources (Earth Observation, meteorological and vertical looking radar) to support decision making in sustainable management of pests and diseases.

Plantwise activities in China received positive feedback from a third-party external evaluation of its impact. In 2016, 13 new plant clinics were established in Beijing and Sichuan provinces, resulting in a total of 48 operational plant clinics now in China They issued more than 33,000 prescription sheets in 2016.

The Joint Lab continued to support ‘China Agriculture Going Global’ and the ‘One Belt and One Road’ (OBOR) Initiative, and contributed to a programme implemented by the Centre for International Agricultural Research, which was recently established by the CAAS. Fact-finding and partnership development missions were made to Laos and Myanmar, and several project proposals were developed to seek funding from both Chinese and international donors.

The Joint Laboratory has always attached importance to wider communication and dissemination of scientific output; 15 papers were published in scientific journals, and 13 oral presentations were given at national or international conferences and workshops.

The Joint Laboratory is now regarded as one of the top platforms of its type within the Chinese agricultural research and development community. Establishing a European Joint Laboratory at CABI Switzerland, and a provincial platform with the Beijing Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, under the umbrella of the Joint Laboratory have been among the first strategic moves, which are expected to provide pioneering models for others to follow.

In their respective opening remarks, Mr Ian Barry, Property Director of CABI, Chairperson of the Steering Committee for 2016, highlighted flagship projects of the Joint Laboratory after nine years of operation, such as the implementation of two EuropeAid funded projects in rice and maize IPM, respectively, and technology transfer on soil pest management in Rwanda. Mr Zhao Weining, Deputy Director General, Department of International Co-operations, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture appraised that the Joint Laboratory has actively addressed the key issues of China’s 13th Five-year Plans, and made good contributions to China’s goals to speed up agricultural modernization, promote innovation, ensure sustainable development, and strengthen support for the poor while promoting Chinese technologies abroad. Prof. Wu Kongming, Vice President, CAAS attributed the success of the Joint Laboratory to both China and CABI’s sound governance and management structure as well as good teamwork.

Among 2017 plans are further implementation of research and development cooperation projects, such as the biological control of Apolygus lucorum, biological control of brown marmorated stink bug and Integrating advanced earth observation and environmental information for sustainable management of crop pests and diseases. There are also plans to prepare case studies on the outcomes and impact of some recently concluded development co-operation projects; to establish 25 new plant clinics in Sichuan and Beijing and  provide backstopping for all active clinics; fact-finding and partnership development missions to key OBOR target countries, e.g. Kenya, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Hungary; co-organise two international conferences – the 3rd International Congress on Biological Invasions (ICBI, 6-10 November 2017, Hangzhou) and the 26th International Working Group (IWGO) on Ostrinia and other Maize Pests Conference (10-13 April 2017, Beijing); and develop new projects and partnerships in priority areas of the Joint Laboratory.

Mr Zhao Weining was elected as the 2017 Chairperson of the Steering Committee. He assured continued support from the Chinese Government, and encouraged continued joint efforts by both sides to raise the performance, profile and impact of the Joint Laboratory to a new level during the coming year.

For all our latest news, click here.