KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs delegation wraps up visit to China
2 May 2008
A nine-person official delegation from the Office of the KwaZulu-Natal Premier and the province's Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs has concluded a week-long visit to the People's Republic of China full of optimism that the province remained poised to unleash its agricultural potential in order to address food security challenges and the current global high food prices which have seen basic agricultural commodities remaining out of reach for millions of people in the developing world.
The delegation's visit to China was part of the 10-year anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of South Africa and the People's Republic of China. The Department of Foreign Affairs, as the national co-ordinator, accordingly had extended an invitation to the province of KwaZulu-Natal to participate in key celebration events which took place in Beijing and Shanghai.
The delegation, headed by Acting Head of Department, Mr Siddiq Adam and Member of Parliament in the National Assembly, Dr Charlie Huang, also included senior officials from the Office of the Premier's Inter-Governmental Relations Chief Directorate, including the special adviser to the Premier, Mr Lucky Gabela.
The delegation visited no less than seven key agricultural centres in China's Fujian and Shandong provinces as well as in Beijing and Shanghai. These include the Fujian University of Agriculture and Forestry as well as the Department of Agriculture in the Fujian province. It also visited the Tianyi Pig Farming in the Putian District of the Fujian province.
The delegation had also visited a fish farming project in the Fuqing District of the Fujian province. During these visits, the delegation was also hosted by various Foreign Affairs Offices of the different provinces and cities visited, including Beijing and Shanghai.
The delegation completed its visit with a visit on Friday, 2 May 2008 to the Jinshan Modern Agricultural Park outside Shanghai. The park is a modern concept of a harmonious integration of agriculture and town planning and orderly human settlement with a strong emphasis on the protection of the environment.
Earlier in the week, the KwaZulu-Natal delegation held a meeting with the Agricultural Attaché at the South African Embassy, Mr Mono Mashaba and also visited CAMCO International, a parastatal involved in agricultural technology and product design. The delegation also visited the Yanbei Science and Technology Group on the outskirts of Beijing where several issues relating to the possible acquisition of appropriate agricultural technology for small-scale farmers in KwaZulu-Natal were discussed particularly in the area of poultry and pig farming.
The delegation also visited the Foton Lovol International Heavy Industry Company in the Weifang City in the Shandong province of the People's Republic of China. The company's main area of focus is the manufacturing, development and marketing of agricultural equipment (tractors, harvesters, disc planters), construction machinery and vehicles. Currently the company export mainly mechanisation products and vehicles to more than 70 countries including South Africa.
During the interaction with the Chinese hosts, Acting Head of Department of Agriculture Environmental Affairs, Mr Adam emphasised that the purpose of the visit is to explore how broader appropriate technology could be transferred to small-scale farmers in KwaZulu-Natal. This also includes capacity building through exchange programmes; and lastly the issue of market development wherein local small scale and commercial farmers from KwaZulu-Natal could be able to access the Chinese market with their agricultural products.
Enquiries: Mbulelo Baloyi
Cell: 082 415 7277
Issued by: Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government
2 May 2008