The University of Southern Queensland’s National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA) welcomed 35 delegates from China to discuss ways of enhancing food production for a country of more than 1.3 billion people.
The delegates, led by Chinese agricultural engineer Dr Wang Yingkuan, paid a visit to the Toowoomba centre on their way to the NCEA-run conference of the Australian Society for Engineering in Agriculture on the Gold Coast.
Dr Yingkuan said it was a very rewarding visit as many Chinese universities wished to establish relationships with Australia and develop better links with Australian agricultural engineers.
‘There are good opportunities and we wish to set up platforms for technical co-operation,’ Dr Wang said.
‘We would like to see visiting scholars, visiting professors and teaching staff exchanges.’
Dr Wang said Australia and China faced similar growing conditions and China’s major food crops were wheat, rice and maize as well as soybeans, potatoes and peanuts.
‘In Western China, soil and water erosion is very serious and the Government has launched a program to return farmland to grassland and forestry,’ Dr Wang said.
‘The Government is paying farmers to do this and the land is improving.’
National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture director Erik Schmidt said it was an honour for the centre to host the Chinese delegates.
‘Australia has a sophisticated but small and probably underfunded agricultural engineering capacity,’ Mr Schmidt said.
‘By contrast, about 7500 agricultural engineers graduate from Chinese universities and institutes annually.
‘The influence of China in manufacturing and trade is well known but less recognised is China’s development of its food production potential and the engineering research that is required to ensure its billion-plus population is fed and clothed.’
The National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture was established in 1994 and specialises in engineering research in agriculture and related environmental areas by promoting research through training programs and commercial interaction with the agricultural industry.
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Callum Johnson, USQ Media, +61 7 46 31 1163