As part of the official program of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands to Shenzhen the seminar “How to Feed the City of Shenzhen” took place on Friday 27 March 2015. The International New Town Institute (INTI), Wageningen UR and the City of Almere organized the seminar which was well attended.
The Chinese government stated in its National New-type Urbanization Plan for the period 2014-2020 that urbanization remains an important tool for economic growth in China. However, the central government also acknowledges that reforms and alternative models for urbanization are necessary to ensure and increase the livability of Chinese cities. In 2030, up to 70 percent of the Chinese population is expected to live in cities, while the current rate is 53.7 percent; at least another 100 million rural inhabitants will move to the cities between now and 2020. How to supply sufficient, safe and healthy food to citizens of megacities such as Shenzhen, has become one of the concerns.
It has become clear over the years that less and less resources are available for agricultural production due to rapid urbanization and land degradation. Both the Chinese government and private sectors need to invest in sustainable agriculture, but they also need knowledge and innovation in sustainable agriculture with great product efficiency.
The Dutch agricultural sector is one of the most efficient sectors in the world in terms of productivity. How can Dutch knowledge be transferred and applied in the local situation of Shenzhen? The seminar facilitated exchange of knowledge and expertise between Dutch and local stakeholders on how sustainable urban growth can go hand-in-hand with agricultural modernization in Shenzhen.
Xiaoyong Zhang (Account Manager China Wageningen UR) spoke on the relationship between Chinese urbanization and agriculture modernization. How can urban growth go hand-in-hand with agricultural modernization and in what way are knowledge and innovation in sustainable agriculture necessary? Yutong Qiu (Business Development Manager in Plant Sciences Group Wageningen UR) gave a lecture on urban agricultural practice in the Netherlands. She talked about the urban agricultural practices in the Netherlands and how different business models can be translated into economic growth. Xiaoyong Zhang also led the concluding discussion both in English and Chinese. At the end of the seminar the Prime Minister of the Netherlands was debriefed.