Chinese agricultural officials and scientists called for strengthening international cooperation to push forward green development in the agricultural industry and rural regions through the advancement of science and technology.
At the 6th Global Forum of Leaders for Agricultural Science and Technology (GLAST), held in Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Qu Dongyu said the world is facing mounting challenges including persistent difficulties in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, the impacts of climate change, resource depletion and environmental pollution, and growing risks of trans-boundary animal diseases and plant pests.
Qu said agriculture will need to feed 10 billion people globally by the middle of this century, up from 7.7 billion today.
“We need to urgently act and move toward sustainable agriculture that produces food that is nutritious, safe and accessible to all while nurturing healthy ecosystems and supporting the sustainable management of natural resources,” Qu said.
He said that science, technology and innovation are fundamental for achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and science-based knowledge should be an integral part of all national sustainable development strategies.
In this regard, China has set a remarkable example battling unsustainable agriculture, through policy incentives backed up by scientific results obtained in pilot projects, Qu said.
Zhang Taolin, vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said green development has been high on China’s agenda for its rural revitalization strategy and the modernization program for agriculture and rural areas.
Zhang said China has focused on controlling the total water consumption for agricultural use, reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and recycling livestock manure, straw and mulching film.
He said the Chinese government and research institutions will double their efforts to achieve breakthroughs in areas such as the technical equipment and models for water-saving irrigation and the highly efficient use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, so as to shift agricultural research and technology from being production-oriented to green and efficiency-oriented, to realize high yields, high quality, high efficiency and multifunctional development of agriculture.
China is willing to share its experience and models in the green development of agriculture, and strengthen its R&D cooperation with other countries, Zhang added.
Tang Huajun, president of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), said the challenges facing global agriculture are interrelated and require comprehensive policies at the national level and coordination and cooperation at the global level.
He said the CAAS hopes to continue cooperation with organizations in other countries to jointly study major common and key technical issues and promote the green development of agriculture and rural areas on the basis of science and technology.
More than 400 senior officials and renowned scholars from agricultural research institutions of 39 countries and relevant international agricultural organizations participated in the forum with the theme of “Green Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas Driven by Science and Technology.”
A declaration passed by the participants of the forum notes that the international community of agricultural science and technology should further strengthen cooperation in innovation, make full use of various cooperative research projects and platforms, and jointly promote green agricultural development driven by innovation in agricultural science and technology.
To achieve the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, it is necessary to build and improve a green agricultural production system. Innovation in agricultural science and technology is an effective means to realize green agricultural development, the declaration says.
The declaration also emphasizes that the protection of the ecological environment and natural resources in agriculture and rural areas is the top priority for green agricultural development, while overcoming the constraints of the environment and natural resources is the primary prerequisite for agricultural modernization.
It also calls for the acceleration of the development of agricultural information technology and the construction of innovative agricultural production and business models on the basis of smart agriculture.