The Chinese government will continue to help African countries
combat desertification, according to the Gansu Desert Control
Research Institute (GDCRI), which trains technicians from
developing countries in desert-control methods.
The institute, located in northwest China's Gansu Province, will
organize two training sessions from August this year on how to set
up windbreaks, choose plants for desert control and curb the
advance of quicksand, GDCRI director Wang Jihe said on
The training programs will last 45 to 60 days, and will be
attended by officials and experts from about 18 African countries,
Wang said, adding that most expenses, including tuition and
accommodation, will be covered by the Chinese government.
Since the first program in 1993, more than 150 trainees from
over 30 African countries including Egypt, the Republic of Congo,
Ghana, Angola and Tanzania, have taken part in the training
sessions, said Man Duoqing, head of the international affairs
department at GDCRI.
Last year's course was held in Minqin, a central-north county in
Gansu and one of the four areas in China from which sand storms
The county saw 14 sand storms in 2006, down almost 50 percent on
the previous year, after it brought 2,000 hectares of desert under
control by encircling sand with nets made of wheat straw and
planting drought-resistant plants.
Ahmed A. Ashomakhy, a Liberian agriculture researcher at the
2006 session, said China's desert-control techniques are highly
2006 participant Peter Seeiso from Lesotho said he was impressed
by China's efforts to fight desertification.
With deserts including the Sahara, Africa is the region of the
world most affected by desertification.
China's deserts are shrinking by 7,585 sq km annually, compared
with an annual expansion of 10,400 sq km at the end of last
century, according to statistics from the State Forestry
Administration. But this leaves little room for optimism because
rising temperatures, drought and dwindling forest areas will
increase desertification in some areas.
The China Meteorological Administration announced Thursday it
will set up facilities to monitor environmental and meteorological
changes in sand storm-prone hinterland areas including Xinjiang,
Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Qinghai and Tibet.
According to United Nations statistics, one third of the world's
land faces the threat of desertification, causes average annual
economic losses of US$42 billion.
(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2007)