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CGIAR Trains 75,000 Researchers in Developing Countries

Around 75,000 researchers have been trained by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in developing countries recently, Wang Ren, the director of the CGIAR, said on Monday at the group's annual general meeting.

It is one of those efforts made by this organization to benefit the poor through stronger food security, better human nutrition and improved management of natural resources in China and other developing countries, said Wang.

China's Vice Premier Hui Liangyu sent a message of congratulations to the nearly 1,000 scientists and experts attending this event from around the world.

At present the CGIAR has more than 8,500 scientists and staff working in more than 100 countries.

Established in 1971, the CGIAR is China's largest international partner in agricultural research and development. It is a strategic partnership consisting of 47 countries, 13 international and regional organizations and four private foundations.

Official statistics show that the country only accounts for 6.5 percent of the world's total freshwater and nine percent of the global arable land resources, but is able to feed 21 percent of the world's population.

"I'm pleased we have this opportunity to continue strengthening our research partnership with China and to review with Chinese colleagues and other stakeholders shared progress and achievements in agricultural development," said CGIAR's Chair Katherine Sierra, against the background of the expansion of the country's population and challenges from ecosystem degradation and food price rises.

She said that since China joined the organization in 1984, 11 CGIAR-supported centers conduct research in the country in collaboration with more than 50 Chinese institutions, covering two thirds of the country's provinces and have completed or are currently researching 70 projects.

Wang, former vice president of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, called on meeting participants to focus on finding ways to better confront new challenges, such as sustaining biodiversity and sustainable natural resource management, which are expected to pose great hardships on poor farmers and consumers globally.

"The CGIAR will clearly be a key actor in global efforts to confront these challenges," he said.

The country's Vice Agriculture Minister Niu Dun highlighted the importance of crucial technological advances that have contributed to the tremendous surge in China's agricultural productivity over the past 25 years.

The meeting will hold a science forum, designed to draw lessons learned from major scientific achievements of recent years, examine new developments in various areas of advanced sciences and determine how the CGIAR can apply these scientific fruits to help China and other developing countries.

(Xinhua News Agency December 4, 2007)

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