LUSAKA, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Zambia's favorable natural conditions for agricultural development and China's cutting edge in capital, technology and experience present a great opportunity for the two countries to increase cooperation in the agricultural sector, a top Chinese official said on Thursday.
Yang Youming, Chinese Ambassador to Zambia said there was a great possibility for the two countries to complement each other to cement cooperation in agricultural sector.
"I believe that, with the joint efforts of China and Zambia, the agricultural cooperation between our two countries will yield more extensive and fruitful results," Yang said at the official opening of the China-African Agriculture Cooperation and Development Summit, organized by the China Agriculture Film and Television Center and Global Max Media Group in collaboration with the Agricultural and Commercial Society of Zambia.
China, he said, will continue to encourage its enterprises to invest in Zambia's agricultural sector and urged the enterprises to seize the opportunities to exploit the southern African nation's vast potential in the sector.
The Chinese envoy explained that a lot has been done between the two countries in the development of the agriculture sector in the southern African nation.
He cited the establishment of the China Aid-Zambia Agricultural Technical Demonstration Center in 2012, which is one of the 14 demonstration centers in Africa, has one of the best cooperation areas in the sector.
Since its establishment, over 1,000 Zambian agricultural technicians have been trained at the center by Chinese experts while the center has also carried out fruitful cooperation with the country's institutes such as the University of Zambia (UNZA) as well as other agricultural research institutions.
He further revealed that China has provided concessional loans for the development of Zambia's agricultural infrastructure projects such as helping the government build nine large-scale silos, which have alleviated the storage shortage, a project to sink over 1,000 boreholes in rural areas while discussions for the investment in three China-aided large-scale milling have been concluded and actual construction is expected to start soon.
The Chinese envoy further noted that his government has helped in building the capacity of human resource in Zambia's agriculture sector and that China currently provides about 100 opportunities for trainings in the sector.
About 500 Zambians specialized in agricultural sector have so far received training in China, he added.
According to him, about 20 Chinese firms have invested in Zambia's agriculture sector and were involved in the cultivation of over 10,000 hectares of land.
Dora Siliya, Minister of Agriculture in Zambia said the southern African nation will remain indebted to China over its unparalleled support to development.
She said China has helped the country in various sectors, including agriculture and that currently discussions were underway for the development of a modern farming block in the northern part of the country.
Zambia, she said, was keen to learn from China's vast experience in the agriculture sector as the country plans to diversify agricultural production which has mainly concentrated on maize growing.