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January 30, 2024  China Daily   

Central Asian Farmers Learning from China

Case Study; Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Resilience; Developing countries; Agriculture

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A class of farmers from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan graduated from a specialized training program in Weinan, Shaanxi province, last Wednesday, further cementing agricultural exchanges and cooperation between China and Central Asia.

Following the inaugural China-Central Asia Summit in May, the 20-day program held by the Weinan Vocational and Technical College was designed to address the challenges and opportunities in the agricultural sector in Central Asian countries, combining theoretical knowledge with hands-on practice to illustrate the ideas of agricultural modernization in China.

In Central Asia, dry farming, irrigation farming and sheep herding are the primary farming activities. Due to low rainfall and technical limitations, the output of agricultural products is relatively low with few processed agricultural products.

As a prominent agricultural production hub in Northwest China, Weinan, though home to vast areas of saline-alkali soil, holds significant importance in Chinese agricultural history and has developed advanced techniques in desertification and saline-alkali soil treatment and farming, and technology for agricultural products.

During a field visit, Anvar Israilov, one of the 20 graduates and a Uzbek breeding expert, observed intelligent agriculture by Chinese enterprises and experimental bases. He saw QR codes used in the growing of grape trees, modernized dairy processing and delicious apples.

He said his knowledge of the agriculture sector in China was inadequate and that he craved to learn more.

"I have been involved in the cultivation of wheat, grapes, peas and sheep on my farm. These are all areas covered in the training program," said Jasur Duvlaev, another Uzbek participant, adding that he intended to apply techniques such as water-saving and drip irrigation to improve his farm's productivity.

"I will pass on the knowledge and techniques in various aspects I've acquired here to other farmers in my country," said Duvlaev.

Abdukhalim Qodirov, a participant from Tajikistan, expressed his eagerness to utilize the skills to contribute to agricultural development in his own country.

Well-chosen from experienced farmers and experts, participants brought practical problems to the courses, and were inspired by in-depth discussions with teachers while at the same time enlightening the teachers with their indigenous methods, Wang Weihua, a teacher in the training program and deputy head of the Weinan Vocational and Technical College, said in an interview with Xinhua.

The college has designated dedicated teachers to proceed with communication and exchanges with the participants when they return to their countries.

"China has a profound historical connection with Central Asian countries. Based on the advantage of regional agricultural resources, we will make timely adjustments to the curriculum considering the actual needs of the participants and carry out more targeted training and exchanges," said Yuan Xiangyong, deputy director of the foreign economic and technological cooperation bureau in Weinan.

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