Food security partnership agreed
20 October 2009
China's own circumstances have demanded rapid advances in agricultural techniques in recent decades. With one fifth of the world's population, but only 7 per cent of global arable land, China has made substantial progress in contending with the challenge of feeding its people.
The UK and China signed an agreement yesterday to share this expertise with poorer countries. Signed by development minister Mike Foster and food and farming minister Lord Davies on behalf of the UK and vice minister for agriculture Gao Hongbin on behalf of China, the global food security agreement will see each of the two countries pledging £1.7m toward this end.
Foster said: "In just thirty years, China's agricultural expertise has expanded rapidly. They've developed new techniques and demonstrated innovation in feeding a huge population with only a little land available. If we can work together to share this expertise on a wider scale, we can take a significant step towards improving global food security and achieving the goal of halving world hunger by 2015.
"The agreement sets out ways to share and develop agricultural research, improve food quality and food safety and promote agricultural trade. And with 265 million people hungry in sub-Saharan Africa, it will also set out ways in which the UK and China can work with African partners to develop sustainable agriculture and fisheries there. With an estimated population of 9 billion globally by 2050, it's vital that we look to act now to ensure that no matter where someone is born in the world, they can be fed safely and sustainably."
The plan will focus on three approaches. First, China and the UK will look to establish partnerships with African states for research and development and knowledge transfer. Second, there will be global exchanges of policies, research and information in the areas of agriculture and food security. Third, the UK and China will transfer knowledge on fisheries issues and sustainable agriculture between each other.
DEFRA minister Lord Davies said: "The global challenge now is to feed a growing population and protect the natural resources on which food production ultimately depends.
"International co-operation will be vital to achieving this goal and so this agreement is an important step in the right direction."