4th Sino-German Agricultural Week successfully held in Beijing


Gruppenfoto DCAW (Niu Shenghao, FECC)

As the central annual event of the Sino-German Agricultural Centre (DCZ) the 4th Sino-German Agricultural Week (DCAW) was successfully held from 26 to 28 November 2018 in Beijing.  The event is jointly sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) and German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and was organized jointly with the DCZ partner institutions:  the Foreign Economic Cooperation Centre (FECC), the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), GFA Consulting Group, IAK Agrar Consulting, IAMO Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transformation Economies. All together more than 250 participants, representing Chinese and German governments, universities and research institutions and agricultural and food enterprises as well as public medias, attended the three-day forums and dialogues.

Photographed by Niu Shenghao

“Science and Technology leading the Green Development” has been set up as the theme of the event. With the “Forum on Smart Agriculture and Digital Rural Development” and the “Forum on Environmentally Friendly Sustainable Livestock Development” two areas have been addressed.

Also part of the Agricultural Week with separate agendas were the “Official Opening Ceremony, Phase 2 DCALDP from 2018 to 2021” in Huanghai Demonstration Park (24 November), organized by the Sino-German Crop Production and Agrotechnology Demonstration Park (DCALDP) in Huanghai and the “Sino-German Cattle Symposium” organized by the Sino-German Cooperation Project on Animal Breeding and Husbandry in Harbin (30 November – 1 December).

1. The Sino-German Forum on Smart Agriculture and Digital Rural Development

On 26 November 2018 the Forum on Smart Agriculture and Digital Rural Development was held at Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), the DCZ Chinese counterpart institution for the agricultural science and technology cooperation platform. The opening ceremony was chaired by Prof. Dr. Gong Xifeng, Director General of the International Cooperation Department of CAAS. Prof. Dr. Wu Kongming, Vice President of CAAS, Dr. Axel Wildner, Counsellor for Food and Agriculture of German Embassy to China, Dr. Li Bo, Deputy Director General of Department of Science and Technology, MARA, delivered their welcome speeches with highlights of importance of Sino-German Cooperation in agriculture and the forum.

Three thematic sessions were elaborated: (i) “The Big Picture – Chances and Challenges of Smart Agriculture and Rural Digitalization” chaired by Prof. Dr. Gong Xifeng and Dr. Eva Sternfeld, DCZ Advisor for Agricultural Scientific Dialogue; (ii) “State of Research and Technological Development: Smart Farming 4.0 on Path towards 5.0?”, chaired by Prof. Dr. Cornelia Weltzien and Prof. He Changchui; (iii) “ICT for Farm and Food Management”, chaired by Prof. Wu Wenbin and Dr. Markus Möller. In these three sessions, five German and eight Chinese experts presented their research results on Policy and Institutional Environment of Smart and Digital Agriculture; Development of applied Digital Technologies for Crops and Livestock Production; Application of Big Data and relevant ICT Technologies in Farm Management and Food Quality Management.

Photographed by Zhang Zi

Following the presentation sessions, a panel discussion was held with  the lead question” Where are we heading to?”. Two panelists, Prof. Cornelia Weltzien and Prof. Wu Wenbin, shared their opinions with Chinese and German participants. The major issues raised and discussed included: (i) How will digital agriculture (DA) shape the future of agriculture? (ii) In which areas shall China and Germany cooperate? Digitalization of agricultural machines, data ownership policy, how to ensure DA will benefit small farmers, technical services to small farmers in the process of digitalization; application of DA technology in crop breeding; (iii) The roles of different stakeholders, e.g. governments, research institutions and agricultural and food enterprises in future development of digital agriculture and rural development.

As the last activity of the forum, participants visited the National Agriculture Science and Technology Park-AgriGarden run by CAAS. As national scientific facilities the park serves as research, demonstration and educational platform for modern agricultural technologies. The demonstrated digital fertilization and irrigation technologies, greenhouses controlled by artificial intelligent technologies, urban horticulture, aquaponics and city farming techniques, gave visitors an unforgettable impression. For achieving the long term mission “Building the Green Future of Agriculture” the park already established a broad global partnership with equipment manufacturing companies, horticulture and gardening enterprises and research institutes and universities.

2. The Sino-German Forum on Environmentally Friendly Sustainable Livestock Development

As the second activity, the Forum was held at Beijing Landmark Hotel on 27 November. The major objective was the promotion of environmentally friendly sustainable livestock development in China and Germany through policy and technological dialogues.

Photographed by Niu Shenghao

The opening session was chaired by Mr. Tang Zhishao, the Co-Director of DCZ and Division Chief of FECC. Dr. Wu Lifeng, Division Chief of European Cooperation, MARA, and Dr. Ulrich Kleinwechter, Division of International Projects, BMEL, expressed their warm welcome to participants from China and Germany on behalf of MARA and BMEL. The two partners also addressed the political and technical importance of the forum for both countries in pursuing sustainable livestock development.

The First Session “Environmentally Friendly Sustainable Livestock: Challenges, Opportunities and Policies” was chaired by Prof. Dr. Dong Hongmin, Deputy Director the Institute of Agricultural Environment and Sustainable Development, CAAS. In this session following five thematic topics were presented by speakers from China and Germany: (i) Chinese regulatory and policy framework for environmentally friendly sustainable livestock; (ii) Experience sharing in sustainable livestock development and animal welfare implementation in the EU; (iii) Analysis and interpretation of  China’s livestock production related environmental tax policy; (iv) Review of environmentally friendly animal husbandry development in China; (v) Swine industry sustainable development from the perspective of animal health in Lower Saxony, Germany.  These presentations assisted participants to in-depth review and compare the livestock industry development status in the two countries and the environmental challenges that emerged in the rapid development of livestock industry, particularly in China, caused by the sharp increase of consumer’s demand on livestock products in the past decades.

The second session “Environmentally Friendly Sustainable Livestock Related Technologies and Best Practices” was jointly chaired by Dr. Jürgen Ritter, DCZ Managing Director, and Prof. Liu Yonggong, DCZ Advisor for Business Cooperation. In this session, seven Chinese and German experts delivered following presentations: (i) Nitrogen recycling in livestock production; (ii) Greenhouse gas emission and control in livestock production; (iii) The successful case of environment-friendly swine production in a German Farm; (iv)  Rational layout of Chinese livestock and poultry farm based on the environmental carrying capacity; (v) Environmental standards and monitoring certification for German animal husbandry industry; (vi) The treatment of livestock waste in China and its technical and economic analysis and (vii) Case study on environment-friendly livestock and poultry production of a Chinese animal husbandry enterprise.

Through presentations and short discussion, participants from the two partner countries concluded: both countries are facing the environmental challenges in livestock industry; for achieving the goal of environment-friendly livestock development, an effective policy and regulatory system and a technical service system need to be in place, particularly in China. Environment-friendly technologies and concepts shall be applied and introduced both in farm designing and in the production process. Further policy dialogues and technical exchanges between the two countries are needed.

3. Sino-German Agricultural Dialogues and Exchange

As the most important event of the 4th Sino-German Agricultural Week, a high-level dialogue and exchange was conducted on 28 November at Beijing Landmark Hotel. About 200 participants attended the dialogue event.

The opening session was chaired by Mr. Yang Yi, the Political Director of the DCZ and Director General of FECC. Dr. Qu Dongyu, Vice Minister of MARA greeted the German and Chinese participants. In his speech Mr. Qu briefly reviewed the background of the Sino-German Agricultural Center (DCZ) and highlighted the importance attached by top leaders of two countries. He also highly valuated the DCZ’s contribution to promoting the agricultural dialogue and exchange and the achievements. Dr. Friedrich Wacker, Deputy Director General of the International Cooperation Department of BMEL, and Political Director of the DCZ, welcomed the participants on behalf of BMEL. He briefly reviewed the latest development in the DCZ and Sino-German Agricultural Cooperation in general. He pointed out that the DCZ has achieved fruitful results through bilateral agricultural policy dialogues, exchange in agricultural science and technology and agro-food business dialogues.

Photographed by Niu Shenghao

The “Sino-German Agricultural Policy Dialogues” aimed at sharing the achievements and results of DCZ supported exchange activities related to environment-friendly animal husbandry, digital agriculture and rural revitalization. Mr. Tang Zhishao and Dr. Jürgen Ritter jointly introduced the DCZ concept and major achievements and highlighted the priority work areas and topics for 2019. Dr. Ji Mingfeng, Director General of the Department of Policy and Reform, MARA, and head of the Delegation of the Chinese study tour on sustainable livestock development to Germany and the Netherlands, presented the Chinese policy framework for environment-friendly animal husbandry and the inspirations acquired during the study tour. Dr. Cheng Yu, Research Fellow of the Development Research Center (DRC), member of a study visit to Germany on the topic rural development earlier this year, reported the German experiences and lessons in rural spatial planning, landscape conservation, social services, etc. Prof. Dr. Cornelia Weltzien presented the Digital Agriculture (DA) Technology Development in Germany and DA related policy framework. Dr. Lena Kuhn, China Research Group, IAMO, reported her research results about application of digital technologies in agricultural risk management.

The session “Sino-German Agricultural Cooperation Projects” provided a platform for participants to share achievements and experiences of related projects. Chinese and German project partners of the bilateral cooperation project “Animal Breeding and Husbandry in China”, “Sino-German Crop Production and Agricultural Technology Demonstration Park (DCALDP)”, “Sino-German Exchange Program for Young Experts in Agricultural Sector” and Sino-German Seed Industry Dialogues, were invited to present their project activities, achievements and outlook for 2019.

The last session “Sino-German Agri-Food Business Dialogue” provided an opportunity for Chinese and German agricultural and food business partners and service institutions to share their successful stories and experiences in applying modern technologies. Presented successful cases included: (i) Digital technologies for organic food certification and quality traceability; (ii) Achievements and Experiences of organic farming development in Pujiang County, Sichuan; (iii) Application of digital technologies in modern agriculture platform by SinoChem Agriculture, Co., LTD; (iv) Digital technologies in swine disease management by Boehringer Ingelheim Co., LTD;  (v) Digital technologies in vegetable quality monitoring and traceability by Beijing TianAn Agri. Co., LTD; (vi) Smart farming management in a large German farm by Langenchursdorf Genossenschaft and (vii) In-field application of livestock manure nutrient measurement system by Holmer Maschinenbau GmbH. A short discussion allowing participants to ask questions about the presented successful cases concluded this session.

In the wrap-up session of the 4th Sino-German Agricultural Week, Mr. Li Hongtao, Deputy Director General of FECC, systematically summarized the overall outputs and achievements of the event.

Photographed by Niu Shenghao

4. The Take-Aways in a Nutshell

  • The 4th DCAW, as an important bilateral dialogue instrument designed in DCZ provided an effective and interactive policy and technical exchange platform for Chinese and German governmental counterparts, researchers and enterprises.
  • Widely reported by Chinese and German public media and social media, the event and the achievements of DCZ and relevant Sino-German Agricultural Cooperation Projects enhanced their policy and technical reputations and importance in the governments and civil society of two countries;
  • The outputs and recommendations made by experts and speakers during forums and dialogues in digital agriculture and rural development, environment-friendly sustainable livestock development, built a good thematic foundation for DCZ team to continue the planning for 2019.

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