Postcard: N8 Agrifood partnership China visit

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Dr Peter Walley is a Genetics Lecturer and an N8 AgriFood Fellow. He leads the Crop Genetic Improvement Group at the Institute of Integrative Biology and is part of the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Food Systems:

I recently visited China for two weeks as part of a delegation from the N8 AgriFood partnership.

We visited the Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences (JAAS) in Nanjing and met with the Vice President of JAAS to progress the N8-JAAS collaboration, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this year.

I presented my work on brassicas at the Institute of Vegetable Crops at JAAS and experts from the lab of leafy vegetables (IVC) shared the achievements and their research interests. We reached an agreement to cooperate on the genetic improvement of germplasm resources for brassica vegetables and to explore the genetic control of tolerance to different abiotic stresses.

We discussed how to open up the collaboration across the N8 institutions and aim to construct a long-term collaboration in agricultural production, education, research and technology.

Professor Jason Halford from the Institute of Population Health Sciences, was also part of the visit and he met with food scientists from the Institute of Farm Product Processing to develop exchanges between JAAS and the N8 around the development of healthy food products.

During the mission we were able to explore the UNESCO listed Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty, constructed in 1381. Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang (1st Emperor of the Ming Dynasty [1368-1911]) and his empress were buried in it in 1398. We also got the opportunity to visit the Chengdu Research base of giant panda breeding.

Whilst in the region, we spent a day in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, where I caught up with my Horizon 2020 BRESOV project partners at the Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (ZAAS).

The team then attended a special breakfast meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) in Beijing organised by the British Embassy to discuss the development of ecological smart-farms for enhanced sustainability. Professor Jason Halford and I presented some of our projects and how these could be integrated.

Our final stop was Chengdu, where we presented at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) 6th Global Forum of Leaders for Agriculture Science and Technology Forum (#GLAST2019), a biannual event co-organised with CGIAR and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

Professor Jason Halford gave a presentation about the Impact of various BREXIT scenarios of tariff and nontariff barriers to trade and the impact this would have on producers and consumers health in the UK and I contributed to the CAAS-FAO “Declaration of Chengdu”.

Marianna, N8 International Strategy Manager,  presented the ‘Rurban Revolution’ project at GLAST2019 subforum on Rural Revitalisation at the Tianfu New District Park City to an international audience. Here we had the honour to meet with the President of JAAS, where we reaffirmed our commitment to work together under the MoU.