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Speech by Ambassador Lu Youqing at The Reception Marking His Assumption of Office & Achievement Showcase of Chinese Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center
2012/06/25
 

Hon. Minister Eng. Christopher Chiza, Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives,

Hon. Minister Professor Makame Mnyaa Mbarawa, Minister for Communication, Science and Technology,

Your Excellency Ambassadors, high commissioners and representatives of international organizations in Tanzania,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening!

It is my great pleasure to have you here for the reception marking my assumption of office & achievement showcase of China-aided agricultural technology demonstration center. On behalf of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United Republic of Tanzania, I wish to extend my warm and sincere welcome to all of you!

China and Tanzania enjoy traditional friendly relations. The long-standing friendship between the two governments and peoples remains stable and becomes even stronger with time.

Today, there are two honorable elders with us, Mr. Abdul Haji and Mama Rosa Kangoma. Mr. Abdul looks like 60 but actually over 80 years old. Mama Rosa Kangoma is the mother of H.E. Mrs. Judith Kapijimpanga, high commissioner of Zambia to Tanzania and is 74 years old. They have personally experienced the construction of Tanzania Zambia Railway (TAZARA). They are participators and witnesses of China-Tanzania and China-Africa friendship.

Mr. Abdul told me, to build TAZARA, the late President Muwalimu Nyerere of Tanzania and President Kaunda of Zambia stepped over mountains and rivers, went through innumerable trials and hardships and delivered thousands of words to seek assistance from many countries and international financial organizations, but finally in vain. None of them would like to help. Being turned down for many times, Muwalimu Nyerere swore, “I would rather die for this railway!” With this duty and commitment, President Nyerere visited China. He fully recognized the truth that China was also suffering from economic hardships in those days, with GDP per capita as low as US$100 and the total foreign exchange reserves only US$ 166 million. When requesting assistance for building TAZARA, President Nyerere dared not expect the result. Unexpectedly, Chinese leaders attended the meeting including Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi and Zhou Enlai gave a positive reply just during the meeting. China dispatched more than 50,000 engineers and technicians, offered US$ 1 billion and took 6 years to complete the huge project of TAZARA Railway, which was also named Uhuru Railway symbolizing freedom and friendship. Mr. Abdul told me, Chinese friends worked 14 to 15 hours everyday, fully dedicated to the construction day and night without thinking about themselves.

Mama Rosa Kangoma was once the chef for TAZARA Training School. She personally told my colleague that Chinese workers lived in extremely hard condition without vegetable and fruit when building TAZARA railway, with only rice and wheat flour shipped from China. After more than 20 days of shipping, food all went moldy because of high humidity.

They had to keep alert at every minute to protect from being bitten by the white ants, mosquitoes, insects, poisonous bees, snakes and the like. In the village where Mama Rosa Kangoma used to live in, there were more than 20 Chinese workers died because of untimely rescue after being bitten by poisonous insects and snakes. They were buried around the village and are still sleeping there today.

I am not a “Professional Diplomat” and don’t know much about “Diplomatic language”, nor can I find beautiful words to describe China-Tanzania and China-Africa Relationship. On this very moment, I can only express the true feelings from the bottom of my heart: the friendship between China and Tanzania is selfless, pure and cemented with blood and lives.

On 28th February this year, I came to Tanzania, a peaceful country with great dynamism and exceptional natural beauty. It is my first time to be in Tanzania, and my first step to be on the ancient magic land—Africa. As the new ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the United Republic of Tanzania, I cherish the highest honor my country and people bestowed on me, and feel the great responsibility on my shoulder.

In the past four months, I met H.E. President Kikwete many times, and paid courtesy calls on Hon. Prime Minister Pinda, President of Zanzibar H.E. Dr. Shein, Vice-Presidents of Zanzibar H.E. Mr. Hamad and Mr. Iddi, Speaker of the Parliament Ms. Makinda, Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Membe, Controller and Auditor General Mr. Ludovick Utouh, and other Ministers including Ministers for National Defense, good governance, finance, industry and trade, energy and minerals, works, transport, culture and science. I also met with ambassadors and high commissioners of the diplomatic corps in Tanzania, representatives of international organizations. Through broad communication and in-depth exchanges with different parties, I get a better understanding about the national conditions and expectations of the Tanzanian people, and have more comprehensive thinking on the all-weather friendship between China and Tanzania. I am confident about the future development of Tanzania.

At present, food security is a common challenge for every country in the world. Africa is rich in agricultural resources, with arable land around 200 million hectares, 13% of the world's total. But the continent’s agricultural development is undermined by a weak foundation and a large poor population. The outbreak of severe drought and famine in the Horn of Africa last year has again sounded the alarm to mankind.

The international community is deeply concerned about food security in Africa. It has become one of the important topics on G8 summit held in Washington in May this year. US President Barack Obama announced a new plan at the meeting to ensure food security and promote agricultural production in Africa. 45 large multinationals promised US$ 3 billion investment in the next 10 years to help African countries improve grain production and food security. President Obama also called on developed countries to fulfill their previous promise of aid to Africa. H.E. President Kikwete being invited to the summit shows the attention and recognition of the international community attaches to Tanzania’s agricultural development.

I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the agricultural cooperation between China and Tanzania, and the achievements made by the China agricultural technology demonstration centers in Tanzania.

China has managed to provide food for 22% of world population with only 9% of agricultural acreage of world. China not only made her contribution to the world food security but also accumulated rich experiences in agriculture development and advanced planting technology.

Chinese Government has always attached importance to strengthening agricultural cooperation with African countries, keeping increasing input in this regard. At the Beijing Summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2006, H.E. President Hu Jintao announced that in three years China was to send 100 senior agricultural experts to Africa, set up 10 special agricultural technology demonstration centers in Africa. At the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2009, the Chinese government announced that within 3 years it would increase the number of agricultural demonstration centers to 25, send 50 agricultural technology expert groups to Africa, and provide training for 2000 African agricultural technicians.

China-Aided Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center is located in Dakawa, Morogoro, covering an area of 62 hectares. It fulfills three major functions, i.e., experiment and research, personnel training, and demonstration and spread. The construction of the center started in October 2009, concluded in September 2010, and was handed over to Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Cooperative in April 2011. President Kikewte attended the handover ceremony in person and highly commended the project, “China-Aided Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center has provided a very good platform for our farmers to learn from Chinese advanced agricultural technology, and will surely play important roles in the development of agricultural production in Tanzania.”

At present, the average rice yield in Tanzania is 1.95 tons per hectare, while the hybrid rice from the China Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center, which we could see tonight in the pictures and video, has a yield of 9-12 tons per hectare, more than 4 times of the local rice yield. I believe that in the near future, with the spread of this hybrid rice from China, Tanzania will no longer need to import rice to feed its people.

China-Tanzania agricultural technology cooperation has brought tangible benefits to Tanzanian people. Many Chinese enterprises engaged in agricultural cooperation and development in Tanzania. China Agricultural Development Group has planted 20,000 mu (about 1,333 hectares) sisal in Morogoro, employing more than 1,000 local employees, with an annual output of 2500 tons of sisal fiber, ranking third in the Tanzania sisal production industry. Chinese Honey Processing Company Honey King, launched its local operation on 9th of this month. The plant boasts a processing capacity of 10,000 tons. It will distribute 20,000 beehives in nine provinces in five years, bringing job opportunities to tens of thousands of Tanzanians.

Chinese companies also provide technical training and seeder machines to local cotton farmers in Morogoro, Shinyanga, Mwanza and Mara, set up cotton planting demonstration bases. As far as I know, the current Tanzania cotton industry’s annual output value is US$ 900 million. This figure will be doubled to US$ 1.8 billion if China's cotton-growing technology is applied. And we may further increase the output value to US$ 3.6 billion, if we can double the cotton planting area using some idle land. The cotton industry will hopefully become the largest foreign currency earner in Tanzania, and help millions of farmers out of poverty.

Tonight, we prepared for our guests a special gift, the new harvest of rice from the Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center. You are welcome to take it home and try the taste. China is open to the world. We, the Chinese Embassy, Chinese companies and research institutions in Tanzania, are willing to carry out cooperation in various forms with our colleagues in the world, so as to jointly make greater contribution to Tanzanian economic development and social progress, as well as for African and the world food security.

Now, I’d like to propose a toast,

To the prosperity of the United Republic of Tanzania, and the well-being of its people,

To the enduring friendship between our two countries and two peoples,

To the health of H.E. President Kikwete, and

To the health of all friends present,

Cheers!

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