China and South Africa will reinforce scientific and technological cooperation in agriculture in four areas, stated Dong Yingshan, vice-president of the Academy of Agricultural Science of Jilin Province, at the 2011 China (Changchun)-South Africa Agricultural Cooperation Forum held on 13 August.

Firstly, joint research on maize planting and cultivation techniques will be carried out according to South Africa’s local conditions, where new maize varieties and supporting cultivation techniques are in relative short supply. By making full use of its rich resources of maize varieties and technical advantages in cultivation, Jilin Province will work together with South Africa on the development of new maize varieties and researches on supporting cultivation techniques, to be adapted to the climatic characteristics in South Africa. Demonstration centers of the new varieties will be established to showcase and promote the planting area and ultimately achieve the goal of large-scale mechanized planting to increase the maize output.

Secondly, joint research will be enhanced on animal breeding techniques by learning from each other. South Africa is renowned for its prosperous animal husbandry and its strengths in merino sheep, karakul sheep and beef cattle breeding and raising will be associated with Jilin Province’s experiences and supporting techniques in China’s steppe red cattle and northeast fine-fleece sheep breeding in joint researches to develop improved breeds of sheep and beef cattle, new feed processing and vaccination technologies, through learning from each other and making complementary use of each other’s technical advantages.

Thirdly, dryland farming and water-saving irrigation will be promoted in response to the local conditions and requirements.South Africa has abundant arable land resources, but due to the shortage of rainfall and water resources, agricultural drought is common. Based on the research findings of dryland farming and water-saving irrigation in the semiarid area of western Jilin, the two sides will undertake joint researches on water-saving cultivation, highly efficient water use, highly efficient water-saving cultivation techniques and drought-resistant crop characteristics to deepen and broaden the field of cooperation, starting from the existing experiences and practical needs.

Fourthly, push ahead joint agricultural technology training on a individual-specific basis. In the light of South Africa’s less than satisfactory state of economic and education development and insufficient training of the work force, after taking language training at home, Chinese agricultural specialists and young and middle aged professionals will be selected and sent to South Africa to help with technically training the local workers, which is aimed to accelerate the application and spreading of China’s (Jilin Province) technological knowhow in South Africa in order to deepen the friendship between the two peoples.