China breaks ground in ‘south-south’ agricultural cooperation, UN agency says

Sharing knowledge in the field.

25 March 2009 – In creating a $30 million trust fund to boost the food output of developing countries, China has cemented its role as a major global player in cooperation between developing countries, the United Nations agricultural agency said today.

“This historic agreement underlines the importance of the role which China has come to play in the global arena today,” José Maria Sumpsi Assistant Director-General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said after signing an agreement with the Chinese Vice-Minister for Agriculture.

Under the agreement, China will provide technical experts and resources to developing countries to improve their agricultural productivity and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a list of targets for cutting extreme poverty and other global ills by 2015.

The trust fund will have a strong focus on Africa, but will not exclude other regions, FAO said, and will last for three years, with China releasing $10 million per year.

The agency notes that China has been providing technical cooperation through FAO in Africa for many years and in 2005 it formalized a Strategic Alliance for south-south cooperation in which developing countries help each other through transfer of knowledge, personnel and technologies.

The Strategic Alliance is carried out under the umbrellas of FAO’s National and Regional Programmes for Food Security and envisages the provision of up to 3,000 Chinese experts and technicians to developing countries under the trust fund arrangement.

Five hundred experts and technicians from China were fielded to Nigeria between 2003 and 2007 and, overall, over 700 Chinese experts have been fielded to all regions of the world since the inception of the south-south cooperation programme, FAO said.


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