12 July 2017 – Plans for a new joint European laboratory have taken a step forward following a recent visit of a senior delegation from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Institute of Plant Protection to CABI in Switzerland.

The visit followed an agreement last year between CABI and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture to develop a new joint laboratory in Switzerland as an extension of the existing MoA – CABI joint Laboratory for Bio-safety to enable Chinese and European scientists to conduct cooperative research in agricultural science and technology.

The Chinese delegates visited the CABI centre in Delémont, the planned site of the new joint laboratory, where they were welcomed by CABI staff. The two-day visit allowed for productive meetings on a number of broad issues around the establishment of the new joint European lab, including its management, operations, key areas of cooperation and finances.

Also present was Jacques Gerber, Minister of Economy and Health for the Canton Jura, Switzerland. Mr Gerber gave a warm welcome from the government and has previously emphasised the importance of both industrial SMEs and the agricultural sector to the economic fabric of the canton. The Canton Jura region itself is part of the China Business Platform.

It is envisaged that the new joint laboratory will address a number of important agricultural challenges that affect food security. Through collaborative research, scientists from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and CABI will identify and develop new methods to control major plant pests, including crop pests detected in China that originate from Europe, and vice versa. Researchers will explore the use of natural enemies and microbes to help create biological pest control technologies. The laboratory will also focus on scientific and technological training, helping to organise exchange programmes for experts, researchers and students.

The relationship between the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and CABI stretches back more than twenty years and includes the creation of a Joint Laboratory for Biosafety in Beijing, China in 2008. The new joint European laboratory would be directly linked to and supported by the existing Joint Laboratory.

Country Director Hariet Hinz said, “Last week’s visit was another step towards the establishment of a new joint European laboratory. The new facility will not only strengthen our links with China but also China’s links with CABI’s centres and member countries.”

Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, CABI’s Executive Director for Global Operations and Co-Director of the CABI-MoA Joint Laboratory in China added, “We are very grateful to our Chinese friends and colleagues for their support and expertise, and look forward to continuing our joint work underpinned by the principles of cooperation and mutual benefit.”

Deputy Director General of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture’s Department for International Cooperation, Zhao Weining said, “We are delighted to continue this journey with CABI, and have made good progress in our discussions this week. Our two organisations share much in common, for example, goals such as improving food security, promoting sustainable farming practices and increasing farmers’ incomes. These shared aims are what will drive the success of the new joint laboratory, and we anticipate the benefits will be felt across China and countries along the Belt and Road.”

As pictured above, from left to right (front): Dr. Hariet Hinz, Country Director, CABI, Switzerland; Mr. Jacques Gerber, Minister of Economy and Health, Canton Jura, Switzerland; Prof. Li Jinxiang, Vice President, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), China; Mr. Zhao Weining, Deputy DG, Dept. of International Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), China.

From left to right (back): Dr. Zhang Feng, Regional Director, CABI, East Asia; Dr. Chen Julian, Director, Dept. of International Cooperation and Graduate Student, IPP-CAAS; Dr. Ulrich Kuhlmann, Executive Director Global Operations, CABI, Switzerland; Ms. Liu Jiang, Deputy Division Chief, Division for European Affairs, Dept. of International Cooperation, MoA; Ms. Huang Dandan, Deputy Division Chief, Dept  of International Cooperation, CAAS; Prof. Zhang Xueyong, Institute of Crop Sciences, CAAS.

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