The closing meeting of the first group of Chinese young farmers' study tour was held in Tallinn.

The first group of 12 Chinese young professional farmers for a China-EU young farmer exchange program ended their 14-day trip to Europe on 27th April for agricultural expertise and capacity building. The closing meeting jointly organized by the Chinese embassy in Estonia and the Ministry of Rural Affairs of Estonia was held in Tallinn teachers’ house. Li Chao, Chinese Ambassador to Estonia, Illar Lemetti, General Secretary of Ministry of Rural Affairs of Estonia, Luo Ming, head of the Chinese delegation and deputy director general of Center of International Cooperation Service of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China and Antonia Moreno, head of Unit A4-Asia and Australia, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development of European Commission attended the closing meeting and delivered speeches.

Ambassador Li Chao briefly introduced the achievements of China's agricultural development in the past five years and the bilateral cooperation in agriculture. Mr. Li Chao said that with the implementation of the Belt and Road initiative and the mature of China and CEEC 16+1 cooperation mechanism, the trade and agriculture cooperation between China and Estonia will continuously increase. Mr. Li Chao hopes that there will be more and more practical exchange programs between China and EU and between China and Estonia, through those exchanges we can further promote pragmatic cooperation.

Mr. Illar Lemetti said that Estonia welcomes the Chinese young farmers to enjoy Estonian food and countryside."We share our experience and achievements in agriculture for your domestic practice."

Mr. Luo Ming said the delegation members were impressed by the trip to Belgium, Britain and Estonia with modern agriculture business in Western Europe and the agricultural development in Eastern Europe, which will be modified and applied in accordance with the Chinese local circumstance. He said that the key of China's rural vitalization strategy was talents and the China-EU exchange program of young farmers to share knowledge and farming experience came at the right time for cooperation in the agricultural sector.

"Both EU's and China's agriculture is facing challenges in the 21st century," said Antonia Moreno,"For example, more than 50 percent of our farmer population is above 55 years old. This is crucial, and young farmers are the key for vitalizing agriculture with elements of policy support by policy-makers to make agriculture competitive and sustainable," She expected the positive people-to-people exchange program to achieve positive results and enhance EU-China cooperation.

Mr. Qin Zhen Wang, the representative of 12 Chinese young farmers, said that this program gave them a very good chance to communicate with the European professional farmers directly, they have fully communication on many agricultural development topics, at the same time, they enhance mutual understanding, they become friends, they share the experiences and problems, and they will bring the experiences back to their own countries and share with more and more local farmers.

After the speech, the 12 young farmers were awarded the certificates issued by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China and Agriculture and Rural Development of European Commission.

Chosen from 11 Chinese provinces and regions, the 12 Chinese young farmers is knowledgeable with business and management expertise in various sectors of tropic fruit planting, flower cultivating, aquaculture, poultry, warehouse and distribution, as well as agricultural training among others.

Announced in April 2017, China-EU Programme on Capacity Building for Young Professional Farmers and Agricultural Professionals is co-funded by EU and China, and will last for 18 months. It comprises two study tours in China for European young farmers, and two study tours in Europe for Chinese young farmers and young professionals in agriculture.

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