China, Pacific islanders stress agriculture co-op

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SUVA -┬áChina and Pacific island countries stressed importance of agriculture cooperation between them to boost the islanders’ food security, Fiji’s Ministry of Information said here Friday.

The two sides made the remarks at the Third China-Pacific Island Countries Forum on Agriculture Cooperation currently underway in Fiji’s western tourist city of Nadi, the ministry said in a media release.

Xu Shiguo, a Chinese top diplomat in charge of North American and Oceania Affairs, was quoted as saying that the Chinese government would honor commitments it already made and assist the Pacific island nations to improve agricultural productivity.

China will create favorable conditions through measures of tariff cancellations and relief for Pacific island nations, Xu said, adding “we shall make use of such multilateral mechanisms in the agriculture cooperation forum.”

Fiji’s Minister for Agriculture Joketani Cokanasiga said there is a need to bring Chinese officials here to the Pacific for them to see for themselves the reality as “the issues highlighted show the difficulties and aspirations of the communities in the Pacific. ”

Colonel Mason Smith, Fiji’s Agriculture Permanent Secretary, said there are focus areas for discussion with the Chinese side, including agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries.

“An area that we are interested in is joint venture partnership between us and China,” he added.

Gao Jinghong from China’s Ministry of Agriculture told the forum that regular meetings of agencies dealing with agriculture and fisheries would be encouraged. “Both will explore co-operation projects on investment and trade in agriculture and fisheries, and guide co-operation for bilateral enterprises under the framework of inter-government co-operation.”

China have sent agricultural specialists to various Pacific countries including Fiji to help establish agro technology centres and demonstration farms with the aim of increasing production capacities in the islands.

China says it will persist with the training of locals and continue with the dispatch of experts to boost the production of agriculture in the region.

Pacific island countries are facing many challenges which include insufficient resources, looming food insecurity, uncertainty over climate change, constant unrest in the global financial markets and soaring energy and food process.

This and political instability affects the economy in these islands which are always grateful to technical assistance especially for countries that have made commitments like China, say local media.

Source: ChinaDaily.com>>

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