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Cutting edge NZ research offered for Beijing agricultural park

2012-11-15 13:49 Xinhua     Web Editor: Gu Liping comment

New Zealand researchers are hoping to share the the country's expertise in quality food production with China at an agricultural park planned for Beijing.

A delegation from the Chinese capital's southern Daxing district this week have been visiting Massey University, one of New Zealand's leading agricultural technology and research centers, based in the North Island city of Palmerston North.

The university's College of Business agrifood director, Professor Claire Massey, told Xinhua Thursday that the university was in talks to set up a large research center at the park that would study the entire food value chain and demonstrate "cutting edge research."

"We have a huge amount of expertise in the whole food value chain," Massey said in a phone interview.

"We know a lot about production, food processing and the business -- getting products to the market. We're quite unusual in that we know about all parts of the value chain."

Some of the specialist research fields proposed for the park included climate control, precision agriculture and "getting the most out of their investment," she said.

New Zealand had a high reputation with things the Chinese were concerned about, such as food safety, and while the farming and business contexts were different, "the core expertise is the same, " she said.

"Obviously with agriculture, the techniques are the same. On the business side, you still have a market; you still have a channel through the market; you still need packaging and processing," said Massey.

With a joint project between Daxing and Wellington City Council, and other still unidentified New Zealand agricultural organizations, the park would be expected to be "as productive as possible," said Massey.

She envisaged the research center would be open to the university's doctoral students from China and elsewhere.

Beijing and Wellington established a "friendly city" relationship in 1994 and formally became sister cities in 2006.

The joint agricultural park was raised in a Wellington City Council paper in April, in advance of Mayor Celia Wade-Brown leading a delegation to Beijing in May.

The paper said the council and private sector would work together to create "a New Zealand-style modern agricultural technology demonstration park" covering 3.5 to 7 square kilometers in Daxing.

Built in accordance with New Zealand quality control standards within Beijing's Green Economic Ring, the park would have the theme "green future and development" and offer preferential tax and investment policies for New Zealand agricultural companies, according to the paper.

"Although Wellington does not have a large agriculture sector, the park would offer opportunities for companies in the clean technology sector (waste and water management, renewable energy, clean agricultural energy and infrastructure), marketing services, tourism, and scientific research. New Zealand is also world- leading in its work on agricultural emissions reductions," it said.

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