ELARD/Minha Terra welcomed, from 3rd to 6th September, a Delegation of the China Association for International Exchange of Personnel (CAIEP), headed by Mr. XIA Bing, Deputy Director General of the Secretariat, in the framework of a cooperation mission. ELARD/Minha Terra organized a series of meetings, namely at its office, at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, in Lisbon, and later with Portuguese LAGs LEADER Oeste and A2S, in the municipalities of Cadaval and Mafra, respectively. Besides, CAIEP Delegation was also given the opportunity to visit three projects funded by LEADER through LEADER Oeste LAG.
In the first meeting at Minha Terra’s office, the partners from CAIEP disclosed the next steps of this enriching cooperation, namely:
- piloting of 6-10 Local Action Groups (LAGs) in different locations in rural China during 2019-2020;
- 200 LAGs help 100 counties of China: LEADER methodology will be extended in 2020-2027, based on the experiences from the piloting phase;
- Training, research and personnel exchange projects.
At the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, the delegation of CAIEP met with representatives from the Secretary of State of Forestry and Rural Development; the Managing Authority of Portuguese Mainland Rural Development Programme (RDP); the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development and the National Rural Network for experience exchange and opening of new cooperation opportunities.
On Day 2, both delegations visited the new office of LEADER Oeste LAG in the small town of Cadaval. The brief presentation and discussion on the origin, organization and scope of intervention of the LAG LEADER Oeste, as well as on the purpose and perspectives of the CAIEP – ELARD cooperation, was then followed by a visit to the following projects supported by LEADER:
- Holiday Camp – Tempo Aventura: the LEADER funding was used to reduce the seasonality of this activity;
- APAS (Associação de Produtores Agrícolas da Sobrena) Laboratory is the first association in Portugal that created a service to support integrated farming and integrated pest management;
- Quinta do Porto Nogueira is a large farming estate (over 180 hectares – 15 vineyards, 27 pear and apple orchard, and 140 eucalyptus and pine forest) that diversified its farming activity by investing in wine tourism.
Friday the 6th September, CAIEP delegation went to Mafra to have a meeting with the manager and team of A2S, a relatively young LAG responsible for LEADER/CLLD in a Rural and Fisheries area.
The contact with these two LAGs, their reflection, their perspectives, their fieldwork and LEADER/CLLD supported projects is an important milestone for the cooperation process officially launched with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between CAIEP and ELARD to support Rural Development under LEADER approach in China.