Minister of Rural Affairs Mart Järvik visited China on 15-18 May to take part of the CEEC-China Meeting for Ministers of Agriculture to discuss the topic of digitalisation, as well as to participate at the international food fair SIAL China and meet with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, Han Changfu.
“Our enterprises are extremely interested in the Chinese market and over last few years we have signed several food safety protocols, which have opened the market to Estonian agricultural products,” Minister Järvik said. “E-commerce was also talked about during the meeting. We see this as one opportunity on how we could reach even the most demanding Chinese consumers with our high-quality products.”
On 15 May, the Minister of Rural Affairs of Estonia and Enterprise Estonia hosted a reception in Shanghai for the representatives of businesses participating at China’s biggest food innovation exhibition SIAL China, as well as their cooperation partners.
On 16 May, Minister Järvik visited the Estonian enterprises represented at the SIAL exhibition. The minister and business representatives exchanged experiences regarding the Chinese market and ideas on how the state could support enterprises in expanding to foreign markets.
“Participating at the exhibition gives me an opportunity to expand our distribution possibilities and increase international cooperation,” Minister Järvik commented. “New trends in China are creating a demand for new products and services, which give Estonian entrepreneurs an opportunity to enter the Chinese market.”
Rein Viilu, CEO of Revala OÜ, noted “The presence and support of both Enterprise Estonia and the Minister of Rural Affairs is very important for Estonian entrepreneurs. Personal communication on various levels is more vital in China than in other countries. This helps to strengthen business ties in China and will give an advantage in increasing export.”
On 17 May, Minister Järvik met with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, Han Changfu, to discuss the trade relations between Estonia and China and cooperation opportunities in research and innovation. Minister Järvik pointed out the importance of research and innovation in solving the challenges agriculture is facing, namely climate change, food security, food safety and transparency of the supply chain.
Minister Han Changfu assured that Estonia’s high-quality products are very much welcome in the Chinese market and stressed the importance of developing scientific cooperation between Estonia and China. The Estonian Crop Research Institute is already cooperating with the Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Sciences (LAAS). They have also established a joint potato-growing laboratory. In addition, the Estonian University of Life Sciences and the Northeast Agricultural University have signed a cooperation agreement in April.
The main topics for the CEEC-China Agro-trade and Economic Cooperation Forum were digitalisation and rural development. Minister of Rural Affairs Mart Järvik stressed in his speech that digital solutions have a lot of potential in agriculture as well. “We already have working digital field book solutions, which help farmers make well-informed and economically sound decisions. I believe that the opportunities are even greater, both at the state and international level,” Minister Järvik said.
This is the third time that Estonian enterprises are participating at the SIAL China food fair. Nine enterprises are represented at this year’s fair with a common stand organised by Enterprise Estonia.