South-South Cities Exchange on Agricultural Innovation & Industrial Chain

By December 8, 2021 December 8, 2021 News

26 November 2021, Beijing: The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and the World Food Programme (WFP) Centre of Excellence in China jointly organized an online South-South cities exchange event on agricultural innovation and industrial chain under UNOSSC’s Cities Project framework, with support from Hunan Provincial Foreign Science & Technology Exchange Centre (HNSTEC). The meeting brought together experts and officials from Roskovec Municipality of Albania, Hunan Province of China, Dailekh and Surkhet District of Nepal, Ghana, as well as representatives of UNOSSC and WFP China.

The event was organized following a joint online survey conducted by the Cities Project team and Hunan Provincial Science and Technology Department in July 2021 on agricultural innovation and industrial chain”. Survey responses indicated the interest of , mid-sized and small cities in developing countries to exchange knowledge and experience with Chinese cities in sustainable agricultural development.

Ms. ZHU Wan, Vice Director-General, Hunan Provincial Science & Technology Department

The session was moderated by  Dr. JIA Yan, Policy and Program Officer of WFP.

At the opening, Ms. ZHU Wan, Vice Director-General of Hunan Provincial Science & Technology Department, introduced that in recent years, Hunan has been promoting South-South cooperation and liaised with universities, research institutions, industrial parks, and tech companies with UN agencies and countries and regions along the “Belt and Road.” Many innovative practices have emerged through joint scientific research, the construction of innovation platforms, and talents training. She expressed her hope that Hunan will carry out more extensive and deeper practical cooperation and contribute more to solving food security issues in developing countries and achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Ms. Maha Ahmed, Deputy Country Director, WFP China

Ms. Maha Ahmed, Deputy Country Director of WFP China, introduced how WFP Centre of Excellence for Rural Transformation via South-South Cooperation shares China’s knowledge, experience and expertise in food security, nutrition improvement, and poverty alleviation with other developing countries: “Experience and knowledge exchange during the development process plays a key role for all peers who are in the common journey to zero hunger and food security. The South-South cooperation is endowed with such great value.”

Following the opening remarks, a panel of eight experts and representatives discussed the challenges and opportunities faced in the sustainable development of agriculture and shared their practices and experiences.


Panelists from Hunan Province — Mr. ZOU Xuexiao (President of the Hunan Agricultural University of China), Mr. WANG Tize (Deputy Secretary-General of Changsha Municipal Government of China), Ms. LI Li (Deputy Director, Hunan Hybrid Rice Research Center of China), Mr. YU Yinghong (Vice president of the Hunan Academy of Agricultural Science of China) — highlighted Hunan’s strength in agriculture, especially its leading hybrid rice breeding technology, as well as its commitment to South-South and triangular cooperation for poverty alleviation and food security. For example, Changsha City has built a series of innovation platforms and strengthened the main crop seed industry; academia and research institutes in Hunan have made continuous efforts to build an industry talent pool. These being said, experts also find it challenging to connect small-scale farmers to modern technologies.

Knowledge sharing and experience exchange session

Ms. Majlinda Bufi, Mayor of Roskovec Municipality of Albania, pointed out that the overall objective for Albania’s agriculture sector is to maintain sustainable growth of production, to reduce the export-import ratio, and to increase the economic gains of farmers. Albania has also aimed to ensure support for the agricultural processing industry, facilitate farmers’ adaptation to the market economy and provide food safety for consumers.

Mr. Richard Twumasi-Ankrah, Director for Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Ghana, underscored Ghana’s major modules to improve food security and create more jobs, including distributing certified main crop seeds to farmers; reducing meat import, and generating employment for all sectors in the livestock value chain; and allocating various subsidized farm machinery and equipment to small-scale farmers. Ghana is faced with challenges in the commercialization of major crop seeds and a lack of investment in fertilizer manufacturing facilities, as well as capacity building and international exchange needs.

Mr. Ganesh Bahadur Rawat, the representative of Dailekh District of Nepal, and Mr. Bibek Kumar Shahi, representative of Surkhet District of Nepal, introduced that traditional practice in agriculture has not provided enough support to keep farmers in the profession and attract young talents to the sector in Nepal. Green technologies, environment-friendly agricultural practices are the best means to upgrade local practices and uplift people’s livelihood, but the country is faced with a lack of funding, capacity-building resources and technology transfers.

In the Q&A session, panelists exchanged progress of rice self-sufficiency and agricultural irrigation and expressed strong interest in carrying out South-South cooperation in agricultural science and technology with Hunan Province.

Launch of South-South Cities Cluster on Sustainable Agriculture Value Chain Development

At the meeting, UNOSSC also announced the online launch of the South-South Cities Cluster on Sustainable Agriculture Value Chain Development. As Ms. Xiaojun Grace Wang, Deputy Director of UNOSSC, highlighted: “Digital technology offers a quantum leap in South-South cooperation and knowledge sharing. Building on the South-South Galaxy platform, South-South Cities Clusters provides an interactive community for cities and institutions in developing countries to share knowledge and experiences and explore South-South and triangular cooperation. I would like to invite more partners to join us.”

Under the Cities Project,  “South-South Cities Clusters” currently offers interactive thematic spaces on COVID-19 Response and Public Health; Sustainable Tourism Recovery, Heritage Protection and Creative Economy; Sustainable Agriculture Value Chain Development; E-Commerce Development, Digitization and Smart Cities; Disaster Risk Reduction, Mitigation and Resilient Cities; Sustainable Transport, Air Quality, Waste Management, Green Cities as well as Renewable Energy Development.