Vice President Calls on China for Agriculture Exchange Program

Monday, 6th July 2009

Shanghai, China - Liberia's Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, now on a ten-day visit to the People's Republic of China, has called on the Director General of Jiading District, Mr. Sun Jiwei, for an exchange program under which Liberian agriculturists will be trained in China. Mr. Boakai said Liberia, though a small country, is blessed with all it takes to become a great agriculture nation, and that this would help the post-war country improve its agriculture sector.

Vice President Boakai made the appeal on July 6 when he paid a courtesy call on Jiading District Director General Sun Jiwei at his office located on the outskirts of Shanghai. He observed that self-suffficiency in food was a pre-requisite for industrial development, and that Liberians can draw upon China's wealth of experience and technological advancement in agriculture to improve to become selff-suffficient in food production. "Although a small country, we are blessed with land, water and a rich soil, and all that is required is to see how we can work together to strengthen our agriculture industry," Vice President Boakai emphasized. He said his interest is to see Liberian agriculturists come to China to learn techniques in agriculture and return to their country to improve its agricultural industry.

"We are impressed with the People's Republic of China, especially with Shanghai, a fast growing city. We've come today to begin to forge a new friendship, meet new people, so that we can form some cooperation," Vice President Boakai emphasized. He said Liberians are impressed with the technological advances made by the people of China, and would like not just to see but experience some of them.

In response, the Director General of Jiading District, Mr. Sun Jiwei, agreed in principle to help train Liberian agriculture students through a student exchange program, and advised that a proposal be prepared for further action.

Briefing the Vice President, Mr. Jiwei said Jiading District, which hosts Shanghai City, has experienced tremendous advances in industrial and agricultural technology. He said they hope to develop their agriculture industry alongside the service and tourism industries. "We are trying to make our agricultural development more advanced, and have already established an agrcultural technology park where a lot of research aimed at improving agricultural products, is done."

He said despite poor soil in the area, they are able to grow many varieties of high quality grain due to technological advancement. He added that they are also growing organic vegetables to improve the health of residents.

Vice President Boakai, who was accompanied by Second Lady Kartumu Y. Boakai, Planning and Economic Affairs Minister Amara Konneh, Post and Telecommunications Minister Jeremiah Sulunteh, Chief of Office Staff Samuel Stevequoah, among others, toured the Agriculture Park experimental farm where rice and wheat are grown, and the culture park where fish are grown in fish ponds and tortoises are cultivated for supply to farmers.