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China, New Zealand forge partnership among ethnic farmers

(Xinhua)

15:15, June 07, 2012

WELLINGTON, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Young ethnic minority farmers from southwest China's Guizhou province are to be given opportunities to train with farming experts from New Zealand's indigenous Maori people under a new exchange program.

New Zealand's Te Puni Kokiri (Ministry of Maori Development) announced Thursday it had signed a joint statement on agricultural cooperation with the government of Guizhou province during a mission to China by Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples.

"We have developed a strong and close relationship with the people of Guizhou: a beautiful and unique province, rich in cultural and natural resources with significant tourism and agricultural potential," Sharples said in a statement.

"Centering on agriculture, indigenous-ethnic development, community development and cultural tourism, the program will also enable cultural exchange and collaboration," said Sharples.

Exchanges would focus on building the capacity of young farm managers and animal husbandry technicians from ethnic minority communities in Guizhou, who would be given the opportunity to visit pastoral farming institutions in New Zealand.

Maori farm managers would have the opportunity to gain experience and provide practical support to agricultural development projects in Guizhou, such as the Dushan Pastoral Seed Demonstration Farm.

Te Puni Kokiri was investing in the agricultural and educational exchange to help strengthen the relationship between Maori and Guizhou's ethnic minorities, said the statement.

The program recognized that investing in the education of young people was a vital way to boost development in rural areas.

The joint statement was signed by Vice Governor of Guizhou Province Mu Degui and Te Puni Kokiri chief executive Leith Comer in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province.

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