2016 The Rise of Chinese Agriculture

Date: 27-28 October

Venue: Hunter Council Chamber, Victoria University of Wellington

(Image sourced from Xinhua)

Conference description

The Rise of Chinese Agriculture will be the most comprehensive analysis in New Zealand of China’s food and agricultural policies and market characteristics. It will review China’s efforts to construct a modern and professional Chinese agricultural sector as a response to market demands. The conference will bring together a select group of Chinese and international scholars and practitioners to assess agricultural policy goals and market trends, and to analyse the implications of these trends for New Zealand producers. The conference will be of interest to New Zealand policymakers and food producers involved with the Chinese market as well as scholars of agribusiness and of contemporary China.

Chinese policymakers have always considered the agricultural sector to be central to the structural transformation of China’s unbalanced economy and to long-term goals of maintaining social harmony and achieving “all-round moderate prosperity”. At the same time, a large and growing metropolitan population expect greater quality of product, security of supply and to have confidence in the safety of the food they consume. This urban population demand a world-class agricultural sector with strong links to high quality global producers. These two forces are driving unprecedented public-private experimentation and innovation and a reshaping of China’s agricultural sector.

The latest No. 1 Document released by the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and the State Council in early 2016 signalled a relentless focus on ‘accelerating the modernisation of Chinese agriculture’ by improving the supply side, efficiency and quality of the sector and by pushing forward programmes to improve food safety, reduce agricultural inputs and the loss of arable land. The document announced a range of innovations and experiments such as the introduction of a pilot plan to invest in 53 million ha of ‘high quality’ farmland. Similarly, the recently approved 13th Five Year Plan (2016-20) puts forward the goal of nurturing the creation of professional farmers and reforming rural land and land operation systems. The drive towards the modernization of Chinese food production, processing and distribution means China’s agricultural sector has entered a period of profound transformation.

What these changes mean for businesses, governments and food producers outside of China remains unclear. At one level, rationalising the food and agricultural sector in China is a task of extraordinary magnitude and one where Chinese policymakers fully acknowledge the vast challenge of moving away from small-scale, traditional farming systems. Based on previous experience and the progress to date, however, there is every likelihood that these efforts will create new forms of competition and tighter regulatory requirements for international food exporters.

At another level, the modernisation of Chinese agriculture creates opportunities for foreign companies to play a role in the development of the sector either within China or through joint partnerships at home. Of the later, the new focus on maintaining food security through access to global markets presents a shift-change in policymakers’ attitudes to security of supply issues and increases opportunities for various forms of joint investment and partnership. At the same time the rapid expansion of public and private investment in domestic capacity within China presents a medium to long-term challenge for global food producers.

Conference schedule

The Conference begins with an introduction by ZHAO Weining, Deputy Director General of Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, the People’s Republic of China and keynote speeches by HUANG Jikun, Professor in the School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences and Director of the China Center for Agricultural Policy at Peking University, and Carl Pray, Professor II in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at Rutgers University.

Conference panels cover the following topics:

Panel 1: The big picture: commercialization and agricultural policy

Panel 2: Dairy, Beef, Sheep and Horticulture

Panel 3: Food Safety Policy and Consumption: Understanding the Chinese Market

Panel 4: Investment

Panel 5: China and Global Agri-markets

For more information, see the draft programme below.

Key speakers

Introductory remarks

Mr Zhao Weining, Deputy Director General of Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, People’s Republic of China

Professor Huang Jikun, Professor, School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences and Director, China Center for Agricultural Policy, Peking University

Professor Carl Pray, Professor II in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Rutgers University

Panel 1: The Big Picture: Commercialization and Agricultural Policy

Chair: Mr Peter Harris

Associate Professor Qian Forrest Zhang, Associate Professor of Sociology, School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University

Ms Philippa Jones, Managing Director, China Policy

Professor Peng Jianqiang, Professor and Vice-President of Hebei Academy of Social Sciences

Mr Li Guanyou, Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Industry Policy and Law, People’s Republic of China

Professor Keith Woodford, Honorary Professor of Agri-Food Systems, Lincoln University

Panel 2: Dairy, Beef, Sheep and Horticulture

Chair: Mr Nick Dalgety, Senior Policy Analyst, Ministry of Primary Industries

Professor Liu Yuman, Professor and Former Director of the Economic Research Division, China Dairy Research System, Rural Development Institute, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Mr Lewis Dagger, Managing Director, Shennong Variety Management Ltd.

Mr Ben Lin, President, Wellbright Foods Co. Ltd

Professor Li Binglong, Director of the Economic Research Division, China Sheep/Goat Research System, College of Economics and Management, China Agricultural University

Panel 3: Food Safety Policy and Consumption: Understanding the Chinese Market

Chair: Associate Professor Alex Chu

Mr Mark Tanner, Managing Director, China Skinny

Associate Professor Liu Peng, Associate Professor, School of Public Administration Policy, Renmin University of China

Dr Sharon Lucock, Lecturer in Agribusiness Management, Lincoln University

Panel 4: Investment

Chair: Associate Professor Coral Ingley, Professor of Management, Business School, Auckland University of Technology

Professor Edward Buckingham, Professor of Management, Director, Engagement, Monash Business School, Monash University

Mr Terry Lee,  Managing Director, Milk New Zealand Ltd, President of Overseas Investment, Pengxin Group

Mr David Courtney, GM Grower and External Relations Manager, Zespri Group Ltd

Dr Jason Young, Senior Lecturer, International Relations, Research Fellow at the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington

Panel 5: China and Global Agri-markets

Chair: Professor Crawford Falconer, Professor of International Trade at Lincoln University and former New Zealand Ambassador to the WTO

Dr Liu Shengjun, Executive Deputy Director of CEIBS Lujiazui International Finance Research Institute

Mr Erlend Ek, Agriculture and Marine Manager, China Policy

Professor Xia Youfu, Professor, Executive Director and Chief Expert, China Strategy Research Center for Open Economy and International Technology Cooperation, University of International Business & Economics

Professor Siah Hwee Ang, BNZ Chair in Business in Asia, School of Marketing and International Business, Victoria University of Wellington

Concluding remarks

Keith Woodford, Honorary Professor of Agri-Food Systems, Lincoln University

Tony Browne, Executive Chair, New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre

Registration

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General admission: $50; Students and Victoria University's staff: Free.