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Ambassador Sun Xianghua's Remarks at the Introduction Reception for the Juncao Technical Cooperation Team (8 Feb 2018)
2018/02/18
 

Distinguished guests,

Friends from the media,

Ladies and gentlemen

 

 

Today's event is a very special one of its kind that has ever been held by this Embassy. But I am so glad that it has been warmly welcomed and participated by Lesotho government officials and private agricultural practitioners. First of all, please allow me to extend our heart-felt welcome to you all.

 

The topic of today's event is specifically about Juncao Farming. It seems a very small thing to us, but actually it can become a big program if well managed. After the introduction and demonstration made by the Juncao Technical Team just now, I believe all of you will agree with me that through this demonstration program, we can achieve a lot. At this juncture, I would like to say a few words on how we can utilize this program to its full and bring tangible economic, social and environmental benefits to Lesotho and the Basotho people.

 

First of all, start small but aim high. The Juncao Program was designed according to the specific conditions of Lesotho. Juncao planting does not require large flat lands, nor does it need expensive machines or big investment. Its knowhow is easy to learn and manage. Its products have a short growing period and can bring in more income than many other crops per unit of planting. In my opinion, it's indeed a very suitable farming practice for household planting and small scale farming in Lesotho. Meanwhile, if managed well, it can also become a big business, creating more jobs and providing sustainable income to Basotho. Many people's lives will be changed because of this program. But for this to happen, we need our Basotho friends who are interested in this technique to really get serious about learning this technology and do their best to learn from the Chinese technicians.

 

Secondly, please always be determined to make the Juncao farming sustainable. Lesotho used to be the granary of Southern Africa. Hundreds of thousands of miners in South Africa were fed by the food coming from Lesotho. Unfortunately, due to various reasons including the persistent drought, Lesotho has been facing periodic food-security challenges. Hundreds of millions worth of meat, cabbage and other vegetables, and even cattle fodder are imported every year, while so many Basotho are jobless. The Juncao program presents to us an opportunity to explore a new agriculture practice that will mitigate the current situation. But the important thing is to make sure that we can make it a sustainable farming practice. For this purpose, I especially encourage Basotho entrepreneurs with small and medium businesses to look into this project and explore the possibility of a long-term Juncao operation. It's my ardent dream that in the future, we will have a network of Junco planting and processing sector in Lesotho, which is composed of large, medium, small and household practitioners, and providing jobs to thousands of Basotho families.

 

Thirdly, I need our Basotho counterparts to provide whatever assistance to the Chinese Technical Team.This team can't be with us forever. In less than 3 years time, they will have to go back to China. We shall make full use of their presence here and learn all the techniques and knowhow before they have to leave. Therefore, for the team to perform to its maximum, I call on the Ministry of Agriculture and other ministries to provide whatever assistance they can. I also call on the media of Lesotho to cover and publicize the Jucao Team's work, and make more potential Basotho farmers know about this demonstration project.

 

Fourthly, this Embassy will work tirelessly to encourage and help the small and micro Juncao practitioners in Lesotho. Hereby, I announce to you that in order to encourage and help some of the most promising small and micro-scale Juncao businesses, this Embassy will look into its own budget and try to come up with a financial incentive program. We will further discuss the arrangements and details with the Ministry of Small Businesses and the Ministry of Agriculture. But a prerequisite for getting this incentive should be that the business or farmer has already learnt the techniques of Juncao farming and has shown signs of a potential promising future.

 

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, there is a Chinese saying, a thousand mile journey starts with a single step. With today's event, the Juncao Technical Demonstration Cooperation Program has been officially launched. With our determination, resolve and joint efforts, there is no reason why what the Juncao program has achieved in some other countries can't be realized in Lesotho; with all our successes in the areas of public health, infrastructure, education and culture as references, there is no reason why we can't make this specific project a success and bring tangible benefits to thousands of Basotho and their families, thus erecting a new monument of China-Lesotho cooperation.

 

With that, I conclude my few remarks, thank you all!

 

Khotso, pula, nala!

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