Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu Sunday put forward four proposals for intensifying agricultural cooperation among members of Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD).
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the ACD Workshop for Agricultural Ministers opened in Beijing Sunday morning, Hui said the ACD members should actively explore the successful ways to enhance agricultural cooperation in Asia so as to promote the effective collaboration among member countries and seek common development of agriculture.
Hui said, when Asia agricultural cooperation programs are made, the ACD members should take into full account the history and current reality of uneven economic growth among member countries and the cooperation should be based on the principles of equality and mutual benefit, seeking common ground while reserving differences, learning from each other and expanding exchanges.
Thirdly, consideration should be given to both current interests of individual nations and long-term interests of Asia as a whole when identifying priority cooperation programs, said Hui.
He added that the ACD members should conduct cooperation step by step in the fields of agro-trade, agro-technology, quality and safety management of farm products, protection of agricultural ecology and environment, human resources development and sustained development of agriculture, so as to continuously improve the performance of agricultural cooperation among member countries.
The ACD members should also share information, promote mutual investment and intensify cooperation among NGOs and entrepreneurs, said Hui.
Hui said since the first ACD informal meeting for foreign ministers in 2002, ACD membership has been increasing year by year while economic cooperation has been increasingly intensified.
"The Chinese government attaches great importance to the role and influence of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue, highly values the security and stability of Asia and makes great efforts to promote the development and cooperation in Asia," said Hui.
Hui stressed that with a large population, Asian countries have rich agricultural labor force and enjoy the dynamic economic development. At the same time, economic globalization brings to each Asian country both new, severe challenges and opportunities of enhancing agricultural cooperation.
Hui said different levels of economic development and different conditions for agricultural development of Asian countries have resulted in their diversified characteristics and advantages, which means a strong complementarity among Asian countries.
"More and better cooperation and exchange among member countries will facilitate the economic prosperity, social stability and sustained development of Asia and will have broader prospect," Hui stressed.
The vice premier said the Chinese government has always attached great importance to agriculture and has made sustained efforts to ensure a steady growth in agriculture as well as in coordinated economic and social development in the rural areas.
After more than 50 years of hard work and unremitting efforts, China has realized a historic shift from a chronic short supply of major agricultural products to a general balance between demand and supply, with surpluses in good harvest years, said Hui.
The poor population in China's rural areas has decreased by a large margin and farmers' livelihood has improved considerably and has experienced a historical leap forward from merely having adequate food and clothes to a fairly comfortable life, Hui added.
"China has successfully found a way of developing modern agriculture with Chinese characteristics, a way that takes the guaranteed national food security as its basis, restructuring agriculture and rural economy as the key link, increased farmers' income as its essential aim, and scientific advances and deepened rural reforms as driving force," said Hui.
He said China is ready to intensify the all-dimensional, in-depth and wide-range cooperation with all ACD member countries and share each other's achievements obtained in practice and successful experience.
The ACD Workshop for Agricultural Ministers is the first ministerial meeting held in agricultural sector since the inauguration of Asia Cooperation Dialogue, with about 120 delegates from 20 ACD member countries participated in the two-day meeting, with one-day preparatory meeting on May 22 in Beijing.
(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2004)