Feijoas and Kiwifruit have been on the menu as Lincoln hosted a plant specialist recently to initiate closer working ties around food production with a Chinese province of 90 million people.
Feijoa expert Dr Meng Zhang, of Southwest University of Science and Technology (SWUST) in Sichuan Province, spent a month with Lincoln University and the Bio-Protection Research Centre (BPRC) at Lincoln specifically to learn more about New Zealand horticulture production systems, biological protection and bio-control.
The visit comes a few months after SWUST’s President, Jun-bo Wang, and Director Guan-zhi Zhang, were in Lincoln as part of a large Sichuan trade delegation intended to further extend co-operation between the two institute.
Dr Zhang has setup new collaborations with BPRC Director, Professor Travis Glare, and Senior Scientist, Dr Robert Hill through the hosting.
Lincoln University Business Development Manager, Dr Samuel Yu, says Sichuan province has a population of 90 million, with fertile grounds and a good climate for growing agricultural produce.
“The province has over 10,000 hectares of land growing red centred Kiwifruit and production has been sensitive to PSA attack and pollination,” Dr Yu says.
“Bioprotection techniques could assist farmers that struggle to control PSA, and the Bio-Protection Research Centre has a lot of expertise in this space.”
This visit is part of the 2015 China-New Zealand Scientist Exchange Program funded by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and employment.
SWUST have a good relationship with Lincoln which started over 10 years ago through now retired Lincoln lecturer Michael Morley-Bunker.
Dr Zhang also met with a range of Lincoln’s staff, such as the international recruitment team’s Patrick Yeung and Anna Soboleva to explore Study Abroad opportunities and Lincoln Agritech Ltd’s Sophie Rebbeck and Dr Armin Werner, to look at ways of utilising precision agricultural technologies in the Sichuan region, such as irrigation design software (IRRICAD) and advanced moisture sensors (Aquaflex).