5 April 2019 - The ongoing benefits of triangular collaboration in development and research for a more sustainable management of agricultural pests and diseases – including South-South and North-South cooperations to fight pests such as locusts, brown marmorated stink bug, wheat aphids and the fall armyworm – were in sharp focus at the 11th Steering Committee of the MARA-CABI Joint Laboratory for Biosafety.
The meeting, held at CABI’s Swiss Centre in Delémont, was an opportunity for the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), CABI and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) to review the Joint Laboratory’s achievements in 2018 as well as approving its plans for 2019.
Delegates also took the opportunity to officially unveil the plaque of the European arm of the Joint Laboratory, named the ‘MARA China-CABI European Laboratory’, at CABI’s existing facilities in the Swiss canton of Jura.
2018 marked the 10th anniversary of the Joint Laboratory for Biosafety in China.
Various achievements were highlighted during CABI’s Asia-Pacific Regional Consultation, held in Beijing from 16-19 October 2018, where the year of 2018 saw the other following highlights:
- 58 scientific exchange visits were conducted for project implementation and/or business developments including five seminars/workshops and eight technical training courses/workshops which were organized by the Joint Lab or had significant Joint Lab involvement, in which triangular collaboration featured strongly.
- Successes from the China-CABI-UK project of Integrating advanced Earth observations and environmental information for sustainable management crop pests and diseases under the Newton Agri-Tech Programme, which brought together cutting-edge research from different fields to provide pest and disease monitoring and forecast information including a biopesticide development modelling system against locust.
- Progress in Plantwise implementation in 2018, which saw 123 new plant doctors trained and 7 new plant clinics created to advise farmers on the diagnosis and treatment of plant pests and diseases, as well as the exploration of a commercial model for Plantwise, in partnership with universities and the private sector to enhance sustainability.
Mr Wang Hongqian, Deputy Director General, International Co-operations at MARA said, “The MARA China-CABI Joint Laboratory for Biosafety is a shining example of how triangular collaboration can strengthen our capabilities and capacity for fighting a range of crop pests and diseases which ultimately threaten food security and safety.
“The Joint Lab can continue to play a bridging role in further promoting triangular and multilateral collaboration including China’s Going Global Strategy and ‘Belt and Road’ initiatives.”
Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, CABI’s Executive Director of Global Operations, said, “The Joint Lab stays ready to embrace new opportunities and challenges in 2019, particularly through more South-South Co-operations, and the new European Joint Lab programme.
“It is important we continue to conduct collaborative research and technology transfer in respect of fighting pests already established, such as the brown marmorated stink bug, as well as for those recently arrived in China including the fall armyworm.”
Professor Mei Xuerong, Vice President of CAAS, said, “Partnership is the key to success. We anticipate continued strong working relations with our partners in the coming year on a range of research-based technologies including those that utilize earth observation data to predict the arrival and spread of pests and diseases not only in China but in Europe and the developing world.”
Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA)