EU farmers wanted for exchange

By BO LEUNG | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-08-10 16:51

Young farmers in the European Union are encouraged to take part in an exchange program to China to share knowledge and farming experience.

The project aims to strengthen cooperation in agriculture and rural development between the EU and China and give young farmers the chance to see how their counterparts farm and work toward sustainable farming.

During a series of study tours, participants from both sides will take part in activities such as visiting farms and research institutes as well as universities and also conduct exchanges, discussions and workshops.

The initiative was launched by Phil Hogan, EU agriculture and rural development commissioner, and Han Changfu, China's agricultural minister, in Brussels.

Hogan said: "In both Europe and China-and indeed anywhere else in the world-we need to encourage the next generation of young farmers and rural entrepreneurs to create a food and farming sector fit for the 21st century. I welcome this opportunity to strengthen the already positive and constructive relations between the EU and China in this area which I saw during my visit there last year."

The program will be funded jointly by China and the EU and it is open to any EU-based farmer under 40. The first group of 10 will head to China for two weeks in November and a second group of 10 will visit in June 2018.

The Chinese farmers will also take part in two study tours to learn how agricultural and farming issues are tackled in Europe.

"The project will give young farmers the chance to see how their counterparts rise to farming sector challenges," a British embassy spokeswoman in Beijing told Farmers Weekly website, "Sustainable farming techniques and environmental practices will be at the heart of the project and participants will have the chance to learn from each other's experience on a series of study tours."

Young farmers taking part will also look at issues as varied as crop diversity, innovation in farming, environmental protection and the aging farming population.

The findings of the scheme will then be translated into recommendations on sustainable farming to be shared with the wider farming and rural community and with policy makers.

The project recommendations will be shared at a final conference in China at the end of 2018.

The exchange program is part of the broader cooperation between the EU and China on agriculture and rural development which began in 2012.

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