Enhancing capacity of developing countries to achieve sustainable agriculture
through the transfer of Juncao technology for alleviating poverty and promoting productive employment
Small-scale farmers in developing countries, including in small island developing states, encounter constant challenges with respect to growing agricultural produce, putting them at risk of not being able to obtain enough harvests to support their families’ livelihoods. Lack of sufficient arable land to grow traditional agricultural produce, including in mountainous areas, compounds the perennial problem of poverty in many developing countries.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a blue print for achieving sustainable development, including lifting millions out of extreme poverty while at the same time protecting the environment for future generations. And sustainable agriculture is among its goals to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition”. In target 2.4 resilient agricultural is mentioned to “increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality’.
With this background, the project entitled “Enhancing capacity of developing countries to achieve sustainable agriculture through the transfer of Juncao technology for alleviating poverty and promoting productive employment” was launched in 2017 to enhance knowledge and strengthen national capacities of developing countries to improve their policies and programmes supporting sustainable agriculture through the transfer of Juncao technology.
The Juncao technology (jun meaning fungi, cao meaning grass), which has been developed by the National Engineering Research Centre for Juncao Technology of the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (FAFU) of China, has allowed farmers in mountainous areas and in regions experiencing drought, land degradation and desertification to grow several types of nutritious mushrooms from dried, chopped grasses, without cutting down trees and damaging the environment. Such an environmental-friendly technology can help small-scale farmers and farming communities to develop a low-cost, commercial-scale mushroom cultivation industry that can provide sustainable livelihood for thousands. In addition, the technology can also be used for producing cattle feed, methane gas and also minimize soil erosion to combat desertification. In the long run, depending on local demands and the scale of production, the technology may also provide opportunities for exporting the mushrooms cultivated using the technology. To date the Juncao technology has been successfully transferred to a number of developing countries, including Fiji, Rwanda, Lesotho and Papua New Guinea.
Among its capacity building activities, on 4-5 June 2018 the project delivered the first regional workshop for policy makers in Nadi, Fiji. The workshop focused on the Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and aimed not only to increase the knowledge and build the national capacities on supporting sustainable agriculture through the Juncao technology but also to provide an opportunity to share country experiences, best practices, lessons learned, and encourage establishment of a network of subject-matter experts.
Visit to the Juncao Technology Demonstration Center at Legalega Research Station after the UN-DESA Rional Capacity building workshop on the Juncao Technology (June 2018) (from left to right: Mr. Qian Bo, Chinese Ambassador to Fiji; Ms. Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Fijian Minister of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation; Professor Lin Zhanxi, Inventor of Juncao Technology; Mr. Inia Seruiratu, Fijian Minister for Agriculture, Natural Disaster Management.
Participants of the UN‐DESA Regional Capacity‐building Workshop on Juncao Technology visit the Juncao Technology Demonstration Center at the Legalega Research Station (June 2018)