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ACACA Grant for agricultural collaboration with China

NRM South has received a highly competitive $44,000 grant under the latest rounds of the Australian Government Australia-China Agriculture Cooperation Agreement (ACACA) to deliver an Australia-China Sustainable Agricultural Technology Forum in Tasmania in 2018.

Following a visit to Tasmania by Chinese President Xi Jinping three years ago, NRM South initiated contact with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), China’s largest agricultural research organisation, with a view to developing a mutually beneficial knowledge-sharing arrangement in the field of natural resource management.

CAAS has identified China’s pressing need to both deal with increasing environmental and food safety issues, but also to find new methods of community engagement, outreach and on-ground delivery, which they have observed being successfully applied in Australia’s natural resource management model.

In recognition of these issues, and in light of their developing relationship with NRM South, the newly appointed President of CAAS, Professor Tang, will be travelling to Hobart in November 2017 to sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management and to learn more about Tasmania and our agricultural activity. Professor Tang will be the second most senior Chinese official to visit Tasmania after President Xi.

NRM South’s CEO, Donald Coventry said, “President Tang’s visit demonstrates CAAS’s deep interest in further developing expertise in sustainable environmental and agricultural practice and their commitment to this project. We are both delighted and honoured that someone of such stature in Chinese agriculture is prepared to travel to Hobart to meet with us.”

In May 2018, funded in part by the ACACA grant, NRM South will host a Sustainable Agricultural Technology Forum in Southern Tasmania. Delegates and researchers from CAAS and the Chinese Ministry for Agriculture will workshop with researchers from Tasmania and practitioners from the Australian NRM network to exchange knowledge about the Chinese agricultural sector and the practices that we employ in sustainable agriculture for improved soil health, protecting water quality on farmland and the surrounding environment, and maintaining healthy bee populations for bee products and pollination services to agriculture.

This partnership will bring mutual benefits including potential agricultural trade and sustainability-focused intellectual property with a key trading partner. Collaborative projects will include joint on-farm trials in China and Tasmania that demonstrate the transfer of proven science to practical farming for the of benefit agricultural production and the environment in both China and Tasmania.

This represents a highly significant linkage for both Tasmania and Australia in the areas of agricultural trade linkages, intellectual property and knowledge exchange, but also in relation to the globally critical need to produce more food whilst significantly reducing environmental harm. I believe that this area will increasingly be sought and recognised as a key knowledge industry and a key trading commodity for NRM organisations and Australia”, Mr. Coventry commented.

For the concept of a Tasmanian brand, this partnership offers opportunities to build both substance and recognition of Tasmania as a leader in sustainable environmental and agricultural practice, to build links to premium markets in China and to assist in maintaining product differentiation into the future.

For more information, visit: www.nrmsouth.org.au/caas-initiative/

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