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Ministers seek joint efforts in agriculture
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-24 10:18

Agricultural ministers from 20 Asian countries gathered in Beijing Sunday to seek partnerships in the sector.

Priorities for agricultural partnerships between Asian countries in the coming years will be given to development policy, practical technology, sustainable rural development and poverty alleviation, according to a joint initiative of the Asia Co-operation Dialogue (ACD) Workshop for Agricultural Ministers.

Co-operation can be carried out in various ways including agro-technical training courses, workshops, exhibition and fairs for agricultural products, trade talks, bilateral and multilateral study tours and agricultural investment, according to the joint initiative.

ACD is a regional partnership mechanism. Since Thailand put forward the concept of ACD in 2001, Asian countries have kept making efforts to integrate existing sub-regional collaborations and promote the establishment of the framework for co-operation for Asian countries.

Consideration should be given to both the current interests of individual nations and the long-term interests of Asia as a whole, Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu said at the opening ceremony of the workshop.

"China is willing to promote dialogues with ACD members and step up overall partnerships with them, and share experiences and achievements in agricultural sectors," Hui said.

On behalf of the Chinese delegation, Agriculture Vice-Minister Zhang Baowen suggested at the workshop that joint efforts should first be made in technology exchanges, human resources development, ecological management and plant and animal disease control.

"Meanwhile, active efforts should be made to explore ways to strengthen sub-regional partnership, upgrade the capability of preventing and handling agricultural crises and make regional contingency plans so as to ensure and improve food security and safety in Asia," Zhang said.

Saying that regional agricultural products have long suffered from price volatility and trade barriers in the international market, Thai Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Suwit Khunkitti highlighted the importance.

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