3 April 2014 – The 6th Steering Committee meeting was held in Dehong Prefecture of Yunnan Province, China on 13-14 March 2014. It brought together eight Steering Committee members and several other key players to review how the Joint Laboratory has progressed during 2013, carry out project site visits, and look at and agree plans of the Joint Laboratory for 2014.

The Joint Laboratory is an initiative between the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and CABI whose Steering Committee is made up of senior representatives from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, CABI, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), and CAASÂ’ Institute of Plant Protection (IPP).

Steering committee visit Everyone at the meeting was pleased with the significant progress made last year, including; frequent scientific exchanges, smooth implementation of various projects, active project development and winning of new projects. Members were particularly keen to see the Joint Laboratory playing an even bigger role in facilitating collaborative research, knowledge-sharing, capacity building and technology transfer.

“We are very pleased that the Joint Laboratory has been developed into an open platform for co-operation among China, CABI and CABI’s member countries. Through the platform, different cultures and working styles come together and are internationalized, and individuals’ careers developed.” said Dr Tang Shengyao, the 2013 Chair of Steering Committee and Deputy Director General of International Co-operations, Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.

Established in 2008, the Joint Laboratory was a major milestone in CABI-China partnership, which has developed over 30 years. Since its inception, the Joint Laboratory has undertaken several successful international projects from increasing rice and maize production in the Greater Mekong sub-region, to facilitating international congresses with around 400-500 participants to discuss the issues of biological invasions. It has also hosted many scientific exchanges and events where researchers from developing countries could benefit from capacity building. The Joint Laboratory has also allowed researchers involved to publish several peer-reviewed papers in Scientific Citation Index (SCI) journals, been granted a Chinese patent on an artificial rearing method of a parasitoid of mirid bugs (No. ZL 2011 1 0092491.3.). Through the Joint Laboratory, we have also led the implementation of pilot Plantwise clinics in China.

The venue and field visits in Yunnan enabled Steering Committee members and senior officials from provincial and prefectural departments of agriculture to gain first-hand insights on the needs of local agricultural production, review progress of the two EuropeAid funded Integrated Pest Management (IPM) projects and obtain political support for projects in the region. Consultation, and field visits with local partners and government agencies revealed that DehongÂ’s intensive farming system is in need of such practical IPM measures. Strong support from Yunnan ProvinceÂ’s and Dehong PrefectureÂ’s agricultural departments and the capacity building of grassroots practitioners and farmers were crucial to the success of the projects in Dehong. Steering committee field visit

“CAAS is the national Centre of Excellency for research. The two EuropeAid funded projects have enabled us to put good research into use and created a good opportunity to share experiences and broaden co-operation among CAAS, CABI, the provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi in China, Myanmar and Laos to promote good agricultural practices”, said Prof. Wu Kongming, the former Co-Director of the Joint Lab for China and Vice President of CAAS.

The Joint Laboratory has access to a huge network of Chinese scientists and experts through CABI, which is a global science-based development and information organization. So, it is in a good position to facilitate agricultural technology transfer from China to other developing countries, now and in future, especially to CABIÂ’s members.

A good example is a new project on soil pest management and transferring technology from China to Rwanda (also a member country of CABI). With the funding from another member country, the UKÂ’s Department for International DevelopmentÂ’s (DFIDÂ’s) Agri TT Research Challenge Fund through the Joint Laboratory platform, the project will bring together CABI, IPP-CAAS, Guangdong Entomological Institute and local partners in Rwanda to implement good practices in soil pest management.

“CABI will continue making a strong commitment to the Joint Laboratory to further strengthen its performance and research capacity. The success of the Joint Laboratory is based on joint efforts and excellent team work, which will deliver more benefits to China and other developing countries, particularly those in Africa and Southeast Asia”, said Ian Barry, the 2014 Chair of Steering Committee, and CABI’s Chief Financial Officer.

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