Between November 6 and 17, 2017, nine young European farmers visited China as part of the EU-China project on capacity building for young professional farmers. The project is a study exchange, which will be translated into recommendations for European and Chinese agricultural communities. The project was launched on April 21, 2017, with the intention of strengthening bilateral cooperation in agriculture and rural development between the European Union and China, which provides young farmers and agricultural experts from both sides with the opportunity to see how their counterparts cope with the challenges within the agricultural sector.
The nine young EU farmers have on their two weeks stay in Beijing and the southern province of Guangdong learned more about Chinese agriculture, and visited farms and demonstration centres. They were impressed by the state-of-the-art demonstration and research centres and food processing companies, as they are equipped with modern technologies and provide their staff with training in China and also abroad. These companies see immense opportunities for their future growth. The same trends that have been present in the EU in recent years, e.g. E-commerce of agricultural products, technologically supported agriculture, organic farming, geographical indications, traceability, etc., are equally important and frequent in China as well. 'Economic and technological developments are impressive and still growing, with a population three times greater than that of its European counterpart. The size of farms are bigger, too: the average size of a Chinese farm is 1 mu or 1/15 of a hectare, although the majority of the visited farms were much bigger, ranging from between 60 and 100 hectares, while some tea plantations stretch over a thousand hectares or more, said one of the participants in his statement for the European Commission. After their visit, he has become more aware of the penetrability of global competition in agriculture.
Young Chinese farmers will explore European agriculture and initiatives in June, and go on two study excursions to see how agricultural challenges are confronted in Europe. Young farmers on both study exchanges explore also crop diversity, innovations in agriculture and environmental protection, and discuss the issue of ageing farmers, wrote China Daily.
The programme, adopted by the European Union and China in April, 2017, is the result of their joint efforts since 2012, with an emphasis on sustainable agricultural technologies and environmental practices. The programme is co-founded by China and the EU. Final recommendations will be presented at a conference held in China at the end of 2018, where analyses and recommendations of the programme will be reviewed. At the adoption of the programme, NewEurope reported that the experiences of the young participants will be included in the recommendations for agricultural and rural communities and political competencies in the EU and also in China.