During the signing ceremony, Professor XU Jianchu stated that Yunnan and Laos are regions dominated by mountainous areas and agriculture, with a high degree of similarity in terms of ecological environment, ethnic culture, climate vegetation, and agricultural systems. He went on to highlight the great potential for cooperation and research between the two countries. The Kunming Institute of Botany will further leverage the technical expertise of its experienced staff in highland agriculture and sustainable mountain development to collaborate closely with NAFRI on the "Mountain Futures Action Plan" under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, conducting pragmatic cooperation in areas such as germplasm resource protection, seed industry innovation and breeding of improved varieties, agroforestry system construction, and circular ecological agriculture.
Dr. Phommy Inthichach, Deputy Director General of Planning and Finance at the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, fondly recalled his 2018 visit to Yunnan with the NAFRI delegation. The memory of the establishment of the Mountain Futures Innovation Centre and the inspection of the Honghe site were still fresh in his mind. He expressed his heartfelt joy at the achievements of the Honghe Mountain Futures Innovation Centre and is looking forward to attending the Third International Conference on Mountain Futures from the 16th to the 18th of April this year.
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Mr. Bouthong Bouahom, former Director General of NAFRI, member of the World Academy of Sciences, and president of the Lao Rubber Association, pointed out that agricultural cooperation between China and Laos is an integral part of the China-Laos relationship. The rubber substitution project, initiated through China-Laos cooperation, has become a pillar of Laos' agricultural industry. The opening of the China-Laos railway has turned Laos from a "landlocked" country to a "land-linked" country. Laos has become an important window for China's cooperation with the Mekong Subregion and ASEAN. Mr. Bouahom hopes that signing this MOU will further strengthen the mechanisms facilitating mountain agriculture cooperation between China and Laos, deepen agricultural technology exchanges, and bring new opportunities for Laos' sustainable agrarian development, further increasing the agricultural contribution to Laos' economic growth.
Representatives from the Kunming Institute of Botany also held a "Sustainable Rubber Development in the Lower Mekong Region" seminar with NAFRI, which was supported by the United Nations Environment Programme. Representatives from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Vientiane, the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters (CCCMC), and the president of the Lao Rubber Association participated in the seminar. The representatives conducted in-depth exchanges on commercial and sustainable rubber planting practices and industry chains for small farmers, explored issues of common concern related to rubber planting and cultivation, and proposed research topics on "zero-carbon rubber" and "green rubber plantations" in the context of biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.
NAFRI is a national-level agricultural research institution under the Laos Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, which engages in sustainable development in agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, and mountainous areas. It has rich experience in agricultural breeding, rubber cultivation, forestry promotion, animal husbandry production, farmer training, agricultural product processing training, and prevention and control of agricultural and forestry diseases and pests.
The signing of this MOU between the two institutions will deepen agricultural cooperation between China and Laos, promote friendly exchanges between the two countries, and further expand the influence of China's scientific and technological innovation in Laos.
Image by KIB