BRI countries advance agricultural imports, exports
XI'AN－In recent years, with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China and other countries involved in the initiative have actively carried out cooperation in the field of agriculture and worked together to maintain regional food security.
China has signed agricultural and fishery cooperation documents with more than 80 countries, and more than 650 agricultural investment projects have been carried out in the countries involved in the BRI.
"The BRI, with its vast territory and rich agricultural resources, is an important initiative for China's agricultural cooperation and trade, and plays a significant role in ensuring food security and agricultural product safety," said Ma Lili with the School of Economics and Management at China's Northwest University.
Ma pointed out that the BRI has created favorable conditions for agricultural cooperation in terms of connectivity, trade and investment facilitation, monetary integration and the promotion of exchanges.
The construction and connection of large markets will help countries and regions taking part in the BRI to carry out differentiated division of labor, promote specialized production and expand competitive advantages. Exchanges and cooperation in the field of agricultural science and technology will help share knowledge and improve the efficiency and quality of agricultural production, Ma said.
The General Administration of Customs said that, in 2021, China imported 326.55 billion yuan ($47.6 billion) in agricultural products from Belt and Road countries, an increase of 26.1 percent year-on-year. The scale of agricultural product trade has steadily increased, and cooperation between industrial and supply chains has become closer.
At a Belt and Road forum on agricultural trade and rural revitalization within the framework of the Sixth Silk Road International Expo, which closed on Aug 18, Ye Niuping, vice-governor of Northwest China's Shaanxi province, introduced the province's agricultural product exports.
"Today, our apples and kiwifruit are exported to more than 80 countries and regions around the world. More than 50 brands can compete with other brands from other countries in overseas markets," Ye said, adding that the fruit seedlings of Baishui county in Shaanxi have been exported to Africa for the first time, and vegetables from Jingyang county also appear on international tables.
Inspired by the BRI, Xi'an Aiju Grain and Oil Industrial Group, a traditional grain and oil enterprise founded in 1934, established a factory in Kazakhstan in 2015 to promote the "contract farming" planting model.
Now, Aiju Group has signed agricultural orders with farmers in Kazakhstan, covering about 100,000 hectares of wheat and oil crops, with the processing and storage capacity of grain and oil reaching 300,000 metric tons.
Since the beginning of this year, affected by COVID-19, extreme weather, geopolitical conflicts and other factors, the global food industry chain and supply chain have been impacted, making it imperative to maintain regional food security through agricultural cooperation in countries involved in the BRI.
Experts say that in the future, agricultural cooperation among Belt and Road countries can be upgraded in many aspects including policy, technology, talent exchange, trade and financial investment.
"More than ever, we need to innovate agricultural technology, optimize production methods, stimulate agricultural development, jointly deal with natural disasters and share the fruits of agricultural development on the principle of equality and mutual benefits," said Gu Weibing, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.