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The First China-CEECs Agricultural Cooperation Demonstration Zone Unveiled in Sofia

DATE:2018-07-13       SOURCE:MARA

On July 7, Premier Li Keqiang and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov unveiled the first China-Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) Agricultural Cooperation Demonstration Zone during the 7th Summit of Heads of Government of CEECs (“16+1”). Heads of CEECs witnessed the unveiling ceremony, which means that agricultural cooperation between China and Bulgaria, and even among “16+1” is undergoing accelerating progress and an important periodand bilateral and multilateral practical cooperation in agriculture will be further intensified.


The orientation and developing goal of the first “16+1” Agricultural Cooperation Demonstration Zone can be summarized as One Bridgehead and Four Zones. It will become the bridgehead of agricultural cooperation between Chinese agricultural enterprises and CEECs as well as the European Union. The demonstration zone is for agricultural varieties, technologies, equipment and management in China along the Belt and Road; the undertaking zone is for the cooperation of domestic advanced agricultural capacity in Europe; the leading zone is for promoting trade in agricultural products and e-commerce logistics between China and Bulgaria, China and Europe as well as China and other countries; and the pilot zone is for the first overseas testing of agricultural reclamation system reform. In the future, the demonstration zone will promote innovations and structural adjustment on the basis of traditional crop growing and trade, and by increasing the proportion of products with high reputation, good quality and local characteristics and developing whole chain of agriculture including crop growing, animal farming and processing.


It is reported that Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry signed a joint statement on May 23, 2017, in order to push forward agricultural cooperation under the cooperation framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and “16+1”. The two sides decided to start the construction of the first “16+1” agricultural cooperation demonstration zone in Bulgaria, which aims to explore a new mode of demonstrating and promoting “16+1” agricultural cooperation. As a "16+1" multilateral platform of regional agricultural cooperation under a substantial operation, it has become Troika (Three Carriages) of “16+1” agricultural cooperation along with “Meeting of China-CEECs Ministers of Agriculture and International Forum on Agro-Trade Economic Cooperation” and “Association for Promotion of Agricultural Cooperation between China and CEECs ”.


The first “16+1” agricultural cooperation demonstration zone will be initially operated with Tianjin State Farms Agribusiness Group  with Bulgaria and varieties with high quality will be introduced, tested and extended. The demonstration zone will grow special cash crops, build up greenhouses and demonstrate advanced agricultural machinery and farm implements. Meanwhile, actions will be taken to promote bilateral trade in agricultural products as well as investment and push forward the building of cross-border e-commerce trading platform for agricultural products. Since the construction started last year, over 20 Chinese and Bulgarian scientific research institutions and enterprises including Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Center, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Agricultural University - Plovdiv, Huada Gene Agriculture Holding Co., Ltd., Tianjin Tianshinong Farming Technology Co., Ltd., and Bright Food (Group) Co., Ltd. have engaged in it. The cluster effect in which 1+1>2 is gradually emerging and new progress of cooperation has been made in the areas of crop growing, deep processing of agricultural products and agricultural science and technology. According to statistics, the value of accumulated investments in the demonstration zone has reached over 60 million euros and provided over 500 jobs which brought good social and economic benefits.


On May 28, 2018, Minister Han Changfu and Mr. Rumen Porodzanov, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry of Bulgaria, visited the “16+1” agricultural cooperation demonstration zone during his visit to Bulgaria. During the 7th Summit of Heads of Government of China and CEECs, Minister Han Changfu respectively signed cooperation documents with representatives from agricultural authorities in Bulgaria, Estonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, indicating the strengthening of “16+1” agricultural cooperation in sectors such as e-commerce logistics and agricultural products demonstration. According to Minister Han Changfu, agricultural cooperation is the earliest cooperation in “16+1”cooperation and it also fully reflects mutual benefits and win-win results. He hoped that all parties use this meeting as a new opportunity to proceed “16+1” agricultural cooperation into a new stage with the demonstration zone as the basis.




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