Supporting smallholder farmers through technological innovation
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences (JAAS) have signed a partnership agreement which foresees joint efforts to support smallholder farmers through technological innovation.
The collaboration will focus on developing sustainable, resilient and efficient food systems across urban and rural areas, and sharing knowledge and technologies with developing countries through FAO’s South-South and triangular cooperation framework.
“The Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences has a long experience in working in China to help modernize and develop agriculture through science and technological innovation,” said JAAS President Yi Zhongyi. “Cooperation with FAO will open a window of opportunity for JAAS to learn from and contribute to FAO’s South-South and Triangular Cooperation framework.”
“Innovation and technology transfer are key to paving the way for healthy and sustainable food systems,” said FAO Deputy Director-General, Laurent Thomas. “The partnership between JAAS and FAO will allow sharing of knowledge and expertise to support solutions and develop capacities for strengthening sustainable agriculture development in China, Southeast Asia and Africa.”
JAAS is a comprehensive agricultural and veterinary medicine research institution in Jiangsu, China. Through its work, JAAS aims to address a broad range of challenges which currently impact agricultural development and local rural economies. The academy comprises 17 specialized institutes and 11 regional institutes, with research interests covering from crop sciences, animal sciences, food safety and nutrition, agricultural resources and environmen tto agricultural mechanization.
During the past decades, China has undergone a successful urban and rural revitalization. In the Yangtze River Delta region, an area which accounts for nearly 25 percent of China’s GDP, JAAS has been active in implementing sustainable agriculture through innovation and digitalization, including in the region’s Jiangsu Province.
Seeking to help the furthest behind
The partnership will focus on activities which promote rural revitalization and stronger urban-rural linkages, paying special attention to rural areas and to marginalized farmers. The aim is ensuring food safety, achieving food security, and reducing poverty in both urban and rural areas.
As part of the collaboration, FAO and JAAS will ensure that research, best practices and innovations in the fields of sustainable agriculture and mechanization are widely shared, both with rural communities within China and with other countries with large agricultural sectors which would benefit from this expertise. The partnership will rely on FAO’s South-South and triangular cooperation framework to foster sustainable and climate resilient agriculture development, both in rural areas of China and in parts of Africa, in a way that is appropriate to local agroecological and socio-economic conditions.
Research undertaken within the context of the partnership will focus on the development of cropping systems and strong extension programmes in circular agriculture, conservation agriculture, and smart agriculture, with the overall goal of safeguarding agricultural resources and the environment, ensuring food safety and strengthening value chains and rural-urban food supply chains.
A partnership of complementary strengths
This partnership builds on collaboration between the two organizations relating to innovation, sustainable agriculture and food systems in urban and rural settings. Through Farmer Field Schools, FAO and JAAS have conducted a series of training programmes to mitigate pesticide risks in selected rural villages; in November 2019, collaboration on City Region Food Systems was advanced through a FAO-JAAS Sustainable Food System Seminar addressing sustainable urban-rural food systems, urbanization, food loss and waste, urban agriculture, and E-commerce for fresh agricultural products; and in March, FAO and JAAS also co-organized the Rural Revitalization and Integrated Urban-Rural Development Forum promoting sustainable and climate-resilient agricultural development, rural economic empowerment, social protection and decent rural employment.