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China and Germany to Protect Biodiversity
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A four-year joint program to protect wild crops and plants in Hainan and Hunan provinces has been launched by the Chinese and German governments. The initiative was announced at a ceremony held in Sanya in south China's Hainan Province on June 22.

The German authorities will provide 3.5 million euros and Hainan and Hunan provincial governments will each grant 1.75 million euros for the program which is aimed at improving the abilities of local governments and farmers to manage agricultural biodiversity.

Experts from China and Germany will draw up plans to protect and promote wild crops and fruits before the end of the year. They also aim to help farmers of project areas where endangered species grow and help them bring their products to market.

Currently experts from both countries are investigating wild crop and plant resources in Hainan -- an island province in south China.

The experts will establish a database of endangered species, their distribution, their conditions and the ecological environment around them. They'll also evaluate factors such as climate, natural environment and human activities which can influence local bio-diversity resources, said Chen Tingyuan, an official with the Hainan Provincial Bureau of Agriculture.

They will set up three pilot zones for biodiversity protection in Sanya and Wuzhishan cities and the Li and Yi Autonomous County of Baoting where they'll carry out protection and research on wild rice and tropical fruits, said Chen.  

The four-year plan was first proposed by China's Ministry of Agriculture in 2001 and the cooperative agreement on the program was signed by the Chinese and German governments on October 19, 2004 and has been effective since then. It's aimed at recovering endangered agricultural biodiversity resources and boosting sustainable development of agriculture and the rural economy of the country.

(Xinhua News Agency June 28, 2006)

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