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G20 agriculture ministers agree to share data

Xu Wei
Updated: Jun 4,2016 9:12 AM     China Daily

Agricultural ministers from the world’s 20 leading economies plan to use information technology and the internet to improve integrity and efficiency in the global agricultural sector and benefit farmers.

The 2016 G20 Agricultural Ministers Meeting, which concluded in Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province, on June 3, also prioritized the importance of innovation, including the innovation of agricultural technologies, commercial models and policies, in the development of the global agricultural sector.

Agriculture minister Han Changfu said one major achievement of the conference is that the G20 countries are planning to establish platforms on agricultural technology innovation and agricultural information technology to enable sharing of innovation programs and technologies.

Han said China is willing to share its experience on how the internet has helped the development of agriculture.

Jonathan Cordone, deputy under-secretary of farm and foreign agricultural services of the United States, called for open access to data about agriculture and nutrition among G20 countries. “It will help improve economic opportunities for farmers and protect the health of consumers,” he said.

Fan Shenggen, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute, said sharing technologies will help improve grain yield.

Internet use will benefit farmers by enabling individual innovation and providing market information, Fan said.

Meanwhile, climate change is also likely to severely damage the global food supply, with grain production in some areas expected to decrease by 50 percent, he said.

“That is why innovation in agricultural technologies, policies and regulatory systems will be important,” he said.