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04-July-2007 Xinhua

BEIJING -- A training course on the extension of agricultural technology for African officials, held by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, opened here on Wednesday.

A total of 35 agricultural officials from 21 African countries attended the training course, which was billed as the "2007 International Agro-Tech Extension Seminar for Africa".

The course will include lectures on genetically modified cotton and seed production technologies and the use of water-saving and biological technologies in agriculture.

"The seminar offers us a unique opportunity to understand how the Chinese do their work and how we do it, which areas we can improve. Our institute and the country will benefit from it ... and we'll be able to help our people," said Lagu Charles from Uganda's National Agriculture Research Organization at the opening ceremony.

Mohamed Salah, from the Egyptian Agricultural Ministry, said Egypt and China cooperated in several fields, especially in food security, animal production, animal health and plant protection. "We hope (to see) more cooperation between China and different countries in Africa," he said.

Agricultural cooperation was one aspect of the eight steps to offer major assistance and strengthen investment, trade and other key cooperation projects with Africa, announced by Chinese President Hu Jintao at last November's China-Africa summit.

China will set up ten special agricultural technology demonstration centers in Africa and send 100 senior agro-tech experts to help with Africa's agricultural development.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Agriculture had jointly sent five working groups to 14 African countries to make investigation for the setting up of agricultural technology demonstration centers and had worked out the plan of sending agricultural experts, which will be carried out in the next half of the year, according to sources with the Ministry of Commerce.

The first agricultural technology demonstration center was launched in Mozambique in February.

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