Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has commended the production standards of farmers in the north of Ireland and the valuable contribution of local agri-scientific research during her visit to China.
Minister O’Neill made the comments during visits to the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and the Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences (SAAS). She was visiting the academies to officially open a Joint Food Science Research Centre at CAAS in Beijing, and a further Joint Food Research Centre in Shanghai, a city of 23 million inhabitants. The minister also witnessed the signing of significant agreements between the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and the academies.
Minister O’Neill said:
“Animal health, livestock traceability and food safety are of paramount importance in the production of high quality and wholesome food for consumption both in the home market and in markets throughout the world. Ireland has a reputation as a producer of high quality safe food and our local agri-scientists at AFBI play a critical role in providing us with the evidence base to support this.
“I value this opportunity to meet with leaders in Chinese agriculture to discuss areas of mutual interest within agri-food production and research. These collaborative projects with the Chinese and Shanghai academies cement working relationships that already exist between AFBI and the academies and will make a positive contribution towards strengthening strategic relationships between our two countries.
“I hope that there will be further opportunities for collaborative working and I look forward to seeing the results of these scientific collaborations on animal health, food safety and agri-economics.”
During the visits Minister O’Neill also met with Professor Wang, Vice President of CAAS, Mr Sun Lei, Director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission for Agriculture with whom she discussed her concerns in relation to trade barriers to the export of pork to china; and President Wu leader of SAAS .