On 22 October 2020, Yangling was the venue of a high-level forum at the 27th China Yangling Agricultural Hi-Tech Fair. Attendees included a delegation of the SCO Secretariat headed by Secretary-General Vladimir Norov.
During his speech, the SCO Secretary-General noted that over 820 million people worldwide had been facing permanent food shortages prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Mr Norov, efforts to contain or mitigate COVID-19 outbreaks affect global food production and sales chains.
"In 2019, we started establishing an SCO's agricultural high-tech industry demonstration zone for exchanging and introducing modern agrarian technologies upon the initiative of PRC President Xi Jinping. This was done to strengthen agricultural cooperation between SCO countries. The Demonstration Zone aims to mobilise modern technologies, innovation and advanced knowledge for ensuring food security in the SCO region," Mr Norov noted.
While serving as a multilateral cooperation platform, this SCO demonstration zone can make a substantial contribution to creating new opportunities for modern "smart" agriculture in the SCO region, he pointed out. It will also help create a "smart farm," agricultural clusters and agricultural parks, facilitate transfers of advanced technologies, as regards irrigation and development of arid territories, conduct joint scientific research, international conferences and exhibitions and also train specialists for the sector.
He also informed forum participants about the Organisation's role in advancing the agricultural sector. The SCO Development Strategy until 2025 views agriculture as a high-priority cooperation aspect; consequently, we focus on the implementation of high-tech food production and processing projects and those aiming to introduce innovative agricultural technologies, including the food sector, Mr Norov said.
A joint communique, issued following the 1-2 November 2019 SCO Heads of Government Council (HGC) Meeting in Tashkent, noted the need for the further strengthening of the SCO's role in ensuring food security, strengthening the global food market and expanding production of environmentally friendly and organic foods.
"The agrarian sector of the SCO accounting for almost 50 percent of the world's population is a major consumer and export market with a large potential and capabilities. It can guarantee the food security of our countries and make a substantial contribution to resolving this problem at an international level. The SCO aims to expand trade and economic cooperation between member states, as well as mutual trade, investment volumes and agricultural produce exports and imports, on the basis of the Shanghai Spirit's principles.
Mr Norov drew the attention of attendees to the need to expand agricultural produce sales markets. "It is necessary to focus on drafting legal documents that would standardise sanitary and phyto-sanitary norms and requirements, overcome certification and customs barriers; create a chain of commodity inspections, tests and certification facilities in SCO countries.
It goes without saying that the introduction of innovative green technologies, the rational use of water resources, efforts to create a high-quality and affordable infrastructure for the rural population will facilitate the development of agriculture, boost the export potential of our countries and help enter one another's markets, he noted.
The event is sponsored by the People's Government of the Shanxi Province, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, the Foreign Affairs Office of the Yangling Demonstration Zone and some other Chinese agencies.
Companies from 30 countries and regions confirmed their intention to take part in the Agricultural High-Tech Fair.
The 27th China Yangling Agricultural Hi-Tech Fair is scheduled to be held until 26 October at the SCO's Yangling Agricultural High-Tech Industry Demonstration Zone.
The exhibition is mainly focusing on innovations as a driving force of high-quality development. There are 14 major events, including a roundtable discussion on the development of modern agriculture in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's member countries.
Established in 1994, the Yangling Fair ranks among the largest and most influential high-tech agricultural events in China.