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China’s ‘miracle grass’ contributes to world’s green development: UN meeting

By Li Xiaohong, Yang Jun (People's Daily)    11:23, April 23, 2019

A kind of “miracle grass” introduced from China, known as Juncao, is being held up by UN officials as a powerful tool that contributes to agricultural cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as well as the sustainable development around the world.

At a meeting brought together about 200 representatives from UN organizations and UN member countries including Lesotho, Laos, Nigeria, Madagascar, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Central African Republic, the participants discussed on how the grass spurs green economies and sustainable growth around the world.

The high-level meeting, titled “Juncao Technology: Concrete Contribution of the Belt and Road Initiative towards Synergies with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, was co-organized by the Chinese government and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs on April 18 at UN headquarters in New York.

“Focusing on the fundamental issue of development, the BRI serves to enhance connectivity and help countries break bottleneck in development. It facilitates the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and promotes global economic growth.” Ma Zhaoxu, China’s permanent representative to the UN, said at the high-level meeting.

Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, praised the support of China’s Juncao technology, saying that it is making an important contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals set in the 2030 Agenda, from poverty eradication to clean energy, gender equality to preserving biodiversity.

Describing the “miracle grass” as emblematic of the Belt and Road Initiative, she added that the technology is boosting food security, as well as the transition to a green economy, through environmentally-friendly technology, more sustainable agriculture and green jobs.

Juncao, denoting the herbal plants for growing edible mushrooms, has found its way into quite a number of countries along the Belt and Road. The grass allows farmers to grow nutritious mushrooms without cutting down trees and damaging the environment, and can also be used for producing cattle feed and stopping sand dunes from moving.

About $300,000 of annual incomes and at least 30 jobs can be created by 1 hectare of the grass farmland, thanks to its short growth periodicity and quick return.

Speaking at the high-level meeting, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin said Juncao enables thousands of farmers in developing countries to scale up their livestock production, creates many job opportunities and saves foreign currencies for multiple nations as their hotels would no longer rely on imported mushrooms.

A photo exhibition was held on the same day to illustrate how the technology successfully assists the growth of countries along the Belt and Road.

The BN Producers, a company in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda, can produce about 10,000 to 20,000 bags for mushroom cultivation each month, which brings the firm a net profit of $3,000 to $5,000.

After getting training from China’s Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, whose professor invented the Juncao technology, Gamage’s Sri Lanka-based firm can now produce about 20,000 bags for mushroom cultivation each month, and is expected to increase its monthly production to 60,000 by 2020.

Juncao is now a new technology assisting with the sustainable growth of Lao agricultural sector, said Lao Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bounkhouang Khambounheuang, adding that the ministry has set up a commission on Juncao technology.

Many agricultural experts of Lesotho have accepted short- or long-term training on the technology in China, said Mahala Molapo, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, adding that by setting up a central-level seed base, his country has stretched the grass planting to ten areas from the previous four areas.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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