China’s minister of science and technology, Dr Zhigang Wang, paid an official visit to New Zealand research institute Plant & Food Research at the end of May as the two countries seek to foster closer research ties.
Zhigang was accompanied by senior officials in his ministry, China’s consul general to Aotearoa New Zealand Shijie Chen, as well as senior representatives from the Sichuan provincial department of science and technology and other research organisations.
Zhigang’s visit focused on recognising the long and enduring relationship between Plant & Food Research and Chinese research partners, which has a particular focus on mutually-beneficial scientific research into understanding and controlling natural diseases in kiwifruit with the Sichuan Academy of Natural Resource Sciences (SPANRS).
Collaboration between the two institutes is underpinned by the China-New Zealand Joint Kiwifruit Laboratory, which was established in 2014, as well as a programme of scientific collaboration where researchers from both organisations have worked on kiwifruit canker diseases and white peach scales.
Zhigang and the delegation also visited Plant & Food Research’s dedicated consumer and product insights research facilities to meet with researchers and sample a range of fruits and fruit-related products currently under development.