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Premier enjoys his day on Swiss farm

By Ding Qingfen and Zhang Chunyan in Zurich, Switzerland | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-25 01:02

Li shows interest in agricultural modernization, food safety

With the sound of a traditional alphorn as background music, a Swiss family farm, Guldenberg, welcomed Premier Li Keqiang and the Chinese delegation on Friday morning.

Situated in Embrach, half an hour's drive from Zurich, Guldenberg was founded in 1966 and has adopted the most modern agricultural systems to produce and market many kinds of products including milk, cheese and fruit juices.

It covers 33 hectares, and includes a vineyard, orchards, and a meadow on which a herd of 70 cattle are grazed.

Guided by Micael Lienhard, the owner of Guldenberg, Li showed great interest in all aspects of the farm's operations.

He visited the vineyard and a cherry orchard, watched farmers milking the cows, and tasted some of the produce.

Li asked about the farm's strategy. He was interested to know more about how to achieve agricultural modernization, what government subsidies were available, how the land was used, the farm's environmental policies, and its food safety measures.

Lienhard also told the premier that he hoped to implement the most modern farming and agricultural methods in the future, to produce more products, train more staff, and create more jobs.

"I have visited many farms, but this farm is very special. It makes many products including milk, fruit, cheese and so on, on a large scale and in a very orderly manner," Li said.

"The farmer is very ambitious and devoted to developing modern agriculture, which helps create jobs.

"It tells us there are no limits to human abilities."

Li also stressed that "food safety is the life of a country, and protecting the environment is our mission".

In China, Li has vowed many times to strengthen the government's role in supervising food safety and urged authorities to eliminate safety hazards.

It was the first time that Guldenberg had welcomed Chinese guests, Lienhard said.

As a family farm, which sells its products to customers, nearby supermarkets and stores, Guldenberg has few links with China. But Lienhard said Li's visit had narrowed the distance between his farm and China.

Jacques Chavaz, deputy director of the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, told China Daily: "Switzerland is advanced in agriculture and devoted to quality.

"There is great potential in expanding agricultural cooperation between China and Switzerland."

As a gift, Premier Li gave the farmer a traditional porcelain jar featuring the Chinese character "Jia", which means family.

Li explained the significance of the character and quoted a famous Chinese saying, "A peaceful family will prosper".

Lienhard said: "I have never been to China, but I hope to have the chance to visit in the future."

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