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Asian Agricultural Ministers Adopt Joint Initiative

The Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Workshop for Agricultural Ministers ended in Beijing Sunday with the adoption of a joint initiative to intensity cooperation among ACD members.

Ministers and vice ministers of agriculture from 20 ACD member nations participated in the two-day First Workshop for ACD Agricultural Ministers, held on May 22 and 23.


Participants agreed that diversity in agricultural policy, technology, environment and development created strong potential for mutual cooperation among the ACD member nations.


They said mutually beneficial voluntary cooperation that respects individual nations' domestic agricultural policies will bring great benefit to Asian the people and promote sustained peace and prosperity in the region.


The participants agreed that the priorities of ACD agricultural cooperation should include: development policy, practical technology, sustainable development, and rural development and poverty alleviation.


The ministers also encouraged its member nations to learn from each other in the area of agricultural development policy and strengthen agricultural negotiations within the framework of WTO.


In view of distinct characteristics and diversity of agricultural development in Asian countries, ACD members are encouraged to intensify exchange and cooperation on practical agricultural technology in the fields such as crops, livestock production, irrigation and drainage, fishery and aquiculture, agro-machinery, agro-processing, agricultural information, animal and plant quarantine, and disease prevention and control, etc.


ACD members are also advised to cooperate in the utilization of clean energy and renewable energy resources in rural areas, natural resources conservation, surveillance and monitoring of agro-chemical residue, and early warning and prevention of natural disasters. Such measures are designed to improve conditions and competitiveness, enhance food safety and security, make better use of renewable natural resources and promote the sustainable development of agriculture.


ACD member nations are encouraged to cooperate in revitalizing rural economies and eliminating poverty. Efforts will be made to achieve prosperity, stability and balanced development of the rural economy through such methods as developing human resources in rural areas and increasing rural employment, particularly for women.


Vice Minister of Agriculture Zhang Baowen pointed out that the initiatives agreed upon at the workshop would require follow-up.


Zhang also said that as the leader in ACD agricultural cooperation, China expressed its commitment to consolidate and expand the decisions made at the workshop.


He added that this year, China will organize an ACD agricultural policy forum to discuss development strategy and policy measures. Also, in response to the UN's resolution designating 2004 as the International Year of Rice, China will organize an Asia rice development workshop and technology exhibition. This would help rice production to play a bigger role in safeguarding Asia's food security and in sustainable agricultural development of Asia.


Zhang said the Chinese government would provide human resources, material and financial support to ensure the success of these efforts.


(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2004)


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