Chinese senior agronomist Zhang Maoqing has been deployed to providing technical support to Ethiopia's agricultural technical and vocational training (ATVET) for years, contributing to transforming the East African country's agriculture.
Enjoying exemplary relations in diverse sectors with remarkable achievements, Ethiopia and China launched their cooperation on agricultural TVET in 2001, and since then China has been supporting the sector in Ethiopia by providing technical and financial assistance.
In the past 19 years, about 465 Chinese professors and senior experts have been sent to Ethiopia, contributing to the development of new crop varieties as well as technology and skill transfer, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture.
With the Chinese experts, more than 200 Chinese advanced and practical technologies have been transferred, and 13 textbooks have been published. In addition, China has helped in training of more than 6,500 Ethiopian instructors and development agents as well as 55,000 students in the country.
Furthermore, more than 200 Ethiopia college leaders and instructors have been able to have short and long-term training opportunities in China.
Zhang, who is passionate about her career, told Xinhua that she has been to different ATVET colleges in Ethiopia for the last 13 years, teaching students and training ATVET instructors as well as preparing, editing, and making available ATVET material that have significant contribution to improved teaching-learning process, and thereby promoting the sector in the country.
Zhang said she has worked at different ATVET colleges here in Ethiopia, including, Asela ATVET college, Wolaita Sodo ATVET, and now Alage ATVET College, whereby she has been instructing and training mainly in crop production of cereals, pulses, and oil crops among others.
In addition, along with other Chinese peers, she has provided technical support in water conservation and soil management, which had been challenges before the Chinese instructors came to their assigned places.
"The students grasp all the skills, from land preparation to the harvest, and they have great achievements especially after graduation, they know the total technology; they can teach the farmers how to do, how to identify the diseases, how to identify the insects, how to harvest how to manage the soil, all the skills," she said.
Dr. Chala Feyera is the Vice Academic Dean of Alage ATVET College. When speaking of the contribution of Chinese experts in Ethiopia's ATVET, he said that the technologies that they have come with have been orientated with local context, accessible and are easy to learn by local farmers.
"The Chinese instructors have made various contributions at our college (Alage ATVET College); the first one is the technology they have come with; their technologies ranging from the advanced ones, to the medium, and to those that can easily be accessed and used for local farmers as well," he said.
"They have experiences ... do their works carefully with commitment; they do it with quality. They meet timeline. So, people learn a lot from them," the Vice Academic Dean has noted.
At an event organized last Friday to recognize contribution of Chinese experts to ATVET program in Ethiopia, officials of the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture noted that the program has produced significant political, social and economic impacts, becoming the focus of bilateral high officials and media, even international organizations and media.
Ethiopia's State Minister of Agriculture, Sani Redi, has said that Chinese contribution to Ethiopia's ATVET program, especially textbook writing is a milestone event in Ethiopian history.
The State Minister has expressed hope that the cooperation between the two countries on the sector would further be enhanced for further gains.
The Chinese Economic and Commercial Counselor at Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, Liu Yu, says Ethiopia and China have attached great importance to their cooperation on agriculture, whereby constant progress has been achieved.
In this regard, the Counselor stated that China has provided support to Ethiopia, including launching and operating agricultural technology demonstration center, providing technical assistance for the last 19 years, and making joint efforts to improve resilience and sustainability of the country's agriculture.
Germame Garuma, Director General of Agriculture Extension at the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, said Ethiopian agriculture would have great leap if the Chinese technologies and knowledge are thoroughly mastered and applied here in the East African country.