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On 10 December 2018, the European Union and China held in Beijing the final event of the EU-China Young farmers Exchange Programme, which last for 18 months. The conference hosted by the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People's Republic of China, Mr QU Dongyu and the Ambassador of the European Union to China, Mr Nicolas Chapuis, recognised the great achievement done throughout the programme and highlighted the excellent cooperation between the two regions in the field of agriculture and rural development. On that occasion, a joint report, which describes the program and possible ways forward was released. The main goal of the program was to increase the cooperation on this critically important policy area of young farmers today and to encourage the next generation of young farmers and rural entrepreneurs to create a food and farming sector fit for the 21st century. Four groups of very enthusiastic young farmers from both sides had the chance to travel in other's region and increase their knowledge and understanding of what are two of the major agricultural economies worldwide which obviously need to tied up their links and work together on common challenges. This exchange programme for young farmers and young professionals in agriculture represents an excellent example of the wide-ranging nature of the EU-China cooperation and touched upon several aspects of sustainable agriculture such as organic food, waste management, the use of pesticides and fertilisers but also on aspects linked to access to credit and land, mechanisation or farmers' cooperatives. The Young Farmers involved in the programme came with many ideas and suggestions to further their collaboration in these fields and have already started networks and dissemination actions, which will multiply the effects of this cooperation.
Today in Beijing, they gathered again to reinforce the dialogue and look for next steps and tomorrow they will be flying together to Shanxi province to visit farms and cooperatives in Jinzhong city and meet what might well be the first Young farmers Association in China. This development is auspicious to look into the future with trust, confidence and a good prospect for future fruitful cooperation between both regions. EU ambassador in his speech said: ‘with this programme we have planted many seeds that will lead to high yields for a fruitful future EU-China cooperation’.
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