Organisation - April 9, 2018

WUR does business in China this week

Albert Sikkema

This week, WUR is accompanying Prime Minister Rutte on the trade mission to China. During these few days, Rector Arthur Mol will sign six contracts with Chinese partners regarding joint research. A collaboration in the field of biological crop protection will also be established.

The Dutch delegation visiting a company in Xi’an. © Vincent Koperdraat

The Dutch trade mission to China starts today and will end Thursday, 12 April. The delegation from Wageningen, led by Rector Arthur Mol, will visit three Chinese cities and several knowledge partners.

Sustainable modernisation
In the former Chinese capital of Xi’an, Mol is the main speaker at a congress on sustainable modernisation of Chinese agriculture. He will also sign four research contracts. In the harbour city of Guangzhou, he will sign two more contracts and visit a matchmaking meeting, as he will in Xi’an. The tour will end in the capital of Beijing, where the Wageningen delegation will mainly tighten the current collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and the Chinese Agricultural University (CAU).

WUR wants to enter a long-term collaboration with the Jiangsu Research Institute and the municipality of Taizhou for the sustainable control of diseases and pests in Chinese agriculture. Together with the partners, Gerben Messelink and Bert Lotz of Wageningen Plant Research will introduce Integrated Pest Management, which includes the use of natural predators for pest control. This approach should significantly reduce the use of pesticides in Chinese agriculture.

Later this year, WUR will sign an agreement with the municipality of Taizhou to start a collaboration in the area of horticulture. The contracts amount to around two million euros.

However, WUR will also conclude several smaller research contracts. One example is the knowledge Food and Biobased Research will provide regarding the sustainable production and storage of kiwis. China has by now become the world’s foremost producer of kiwis, and the largest Chinese kiwi company wants to improve the quality of the kiwis.

In another project, WUR is investigating the climate control within the containers that are transported between China and Europe by rail along the New Silk Road. The refrigerated containers now often contain electronics and go back China empty. A better climate control should help make the containers suitable for flower transport from the Netherlands to China, for example.

In Beijing, the delegation will primarily strengthen the existing collaboration projects. The Wageningers will visit the Chinese Agricultural University (CAU), with whom WUR has established the Sino Dutch Dairy Development Center. This joint institute for the Chinese dairy sector has existed since 2013 and has led to 32 research projects and twenty publications. WUR also trains 500 students and eight Chinese PhD candidates. The centre, which was established after the 2008 Chinese milk scandal involving melamine, is mainly focused on the quality and safety of Chinese milk.

In Beijing, the partners WUR and CAAS will plant two trees to celebrate the centenary of Wageningen University.