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Batanes delegation visits China

A TEAM from the province of Batanes led by Gov. Marilou H. Cayco recently went to the People’s Republic of China for a goodwill visit through an invitation from the governor of Shandong Province, Gong Zheng.

Accompanied by Chinese Consul Madame Wang Jiangqun, the 10-man delegation left Manila on July 3 for the 6-day all-expense-paid trip which was initiated and coordinated by the Chinese Consulate Office in Laoag City.

The first day of the visit was spent in Beijing (Peking in Chinese), China’s capital, where the Ivatan group met with Vice Minister Yu Kangzhen and other officials of the Ministry of Agriculture. The meeting focused on how Batanes and China may forge cooperation on agricultural and fishery projects to help boost Batanes’ agricultural and fishery industries. Tourism projects were also discussed along with cultural and educational exchange programs between the two parties. After the meeting, the delegation toured the facilities of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences where the scientific studies in agriculture are conducted and the crop genetic materials are kept for future use. A side trip to the famous Great Wall of China (Badaling Section) and the Imperial Palace (also known as Forbidden City) capped the delegation’s stay in Beijing.

The governor and her team then moved to Shandong Province by bullet train and were met by officials from the Foreign Affairs Office in the city of Jinan. Here, they met with Vice Governor Ji Xiangqi of Shandong Province in a welcome dinner hosted by the Chinese counterparts. Discussions with the vice governor and other provincial officials of Shandong – considered to be the economic powerhouse of China – focused on strengthening linkages and cooperation on agricultural undertakings.

From Jinan City, the delegation travelled to the world’s kite capital – Weifang City. It is a coastal city located on the eastern side of Shandong and is considered the agricultural center of the province. They met with Vice Mayor Ma Quingmin who expressed the city’s willingness to help Batanes in the most practicable means. It was also discussed that students and teachers from Batanes may learn new technologies in agriculture and tourism in their universities through an educational exchange program. Mayor Quingmin emphasized that “the friendship that has just been forged between Batanes and Weifang City will be nourished and shall continue to flourish”.

The highlight of their visit to Weifang City was the tour of the greenhouses in Shouguang which were planted with different vegetables such as tomato, bell pepper, eggplant and other high value crops. The technology on grafting eggplant to a disease-resistant wild relative species was also seen by the group. After visiting the greenhouses, they proceeded to the Food Valley of China where a showcase of different gourd varieties in various forms was on display. A glimpse of their vegetable consolidation and distribution center named Super Kitchen provided the group with insights on the establishment of a systematic model for marketing vegetables and other crops.

The group’s last stop was in Qingdao City, China’s sailing capital which hosted the sailing events in the 29th Summer Olympic Games and the 13th Paralympic Games both in 2008. They visited important cultural sites in the city and toured the Tsing Tao Beer Museum and Factory. It is the first national industry tourism model in China and has become a pearl of industry tourism.

Together with Governor Cayco, the delegation was composed of senior Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Maxilindo Emilio A. Babalo, the provincial veterinarian Dr. Alberto A. Tabile, the provincial agriculturist Mr. Cesar Doroteo V. Hostallero, municipal mayors Anastacia B. Viola of Basco, Jonathan Enrique V. Nanud of Uyugan, Marcial Armando A. Alavado of Sabtang, acting mayor Sabas C. de Sagon of Itbayat, the center chief of the Department of Agriculture – Batanes Experimental Station (DA-BES) Mr. Celso B. Batallones, and the then president of the Batanes State College Dr. Edwin F. Macaballug.

The group arrived in Manila on July 9 by a South China Airlines connecting flight from Guangzhou City.

PROUDLY IVATAN MADE.  Gov. Marilou H. Cayco presents a token of appreciation to Vice Minister Yu Kangzhen of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture after a goodwill meeting in Beijing, China.

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