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"EU-China exchange programme a success"

Nine young European farmers visited China from 6-17 November 2017, the first to benefit from an EU-China project on capacity building for young professional farmers and agricultural professionals.

The project was launched on 21 April 2017 and aims to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the area of agriculture and rural development between the European Union and China, providing an opportunity for young farmers and agricultural professionals from both sides see how they each rise to the challenges of their respective farming sectors. In spring 2018, Chinese farmers are expected to visit the European Union.

During almost two weeks in Beijing and the southern province of Guangdong, the young farmers learnt more about Chinese agriculture, visiting farms and demonstration centres thanks to a programme set up by the Chinese authorities. Monika (32), an organic strawberry and crop farmer from Poland, shares her experiences:

How did you learn about the EU-China programme? What was your main motivation to participate?

I learned about the programme from the European Commission's website for agriculture and rural development. My main motivation was to learn about Chinese agriculture and see what the fruit, vegetable and crop production looks like there.

What impressed you the most during your study visit?
I was impressed by the state-of-the-art demonstration and research centers, dairy and pig farms, tea, mango and dragon fruit plantations and food processing companies we visited. All of them are equipped with modern technology, the staff are trained in China and abroad and they all see a huge potential of growth ahead of them.

Also, it seems that the trends that we observe in the EU in recent years such as e-commerce of agricultural goods, community-supported agriculture, organic production, geographical indications (GI), produce traceability and so on are equally important and widely discussed in China.

Did you learn something that you could implement on your farm? What exactly?
We had a chance to visit the greenhouses and polytunnels where consumers are invited to come and pick their own strawberries in one of the demonstration centers. I have read about this farm-to-table strategy before, but it was the first time I have seen it working and was able to ask questions to the person in charge about the advantages and disadvantages of it. I’d like to implement this concept on my farm in the future.

Last, but not least: why did you choose to become a farmer?
I come from a farming family for at least four generations, probably more! But getting info farming was not so obvious. I graduated in Tourism and International Business. After six years of experience in these fields in Poland and abroad, I decided to use my expertise on the family farm and run my own business together with my parents.

Source: European Commission

Publication date: 12/5/2017



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