Juncao technology, a method that uses chopped grass as substrate for growing edible and medicinal mushrooms and as forage for livestock, is a unique Chinese invention that uses agricultural resources of light, heat and water in a holistic way.
The technology of Juncao－jun translates as “mushroom” and cao as “grass”－enables circular production involving plants, animals and mushrooms, and ushers in economic, social and environmental benefits in a way that is conducive to ecological, food and energy security.
China reaffirmed its commitment to contributing wisdom and solutions to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in a congratulatory letter from the Chinese President to a forum celebrating the 20th anniversary of Beijing’s assistance to other nations through Juncao technology.
Juncao technology was invented by Lin Zhanxi, a professor at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, in the 1980s before its introduction nationwide and promotion to 106 countries around the world.
Xi said that he has long given priority to international cooperation on Juncao technology, and China stands ready to work with other countries to enable the technology to benefit more people in developing nations.
In 2001, when Xi served as governor of Fujian province, he personally pushed forward the launch of the first China-assisted Juncao demonstration base in Papua New Guinea, marking the start of international cooperation on the technology.
Over the past 20 years, China has held 270 international training sessions on Juncao technology and set up demonstration bases in 13 nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America, creating hundreds of thousands of green jobs for young people and women, according to the Foreign Ministry.
In a speech at the forum, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China will fully leverage the high adaptability and practicality of the technology to help enhance the capacity of developing nations in sustainable agriculture and make greater contributions to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The nation will step up experience-sharing and exchanges with other countries through demonstration projects and technology training in a bid to help them attain poverty alleviation targets, Wang said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a message to the forum that eradicating poverty in all forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty and hunger, is the greatest global challenge facing the world today.
“It is therefore critical to enhance knowledge and strengthen national capacities of developing countries to improve their policies and programs, supporting sustainable agriculture and environment through the transfer of Juncao technology,” he said.
James Marape, prime minister of Papua New Guinea, said in a speech delivered via video link that China’s Juncao program has brought tangible benefits to the local population, with the nation now boasting more than 700 mushroom farmers, over half of whom are women.
“We see an increase in household income, greater gender equality in the community and more villagers getting rid of poverty. Juncao is our grass for poverty alleviation and prosperity,” he said.
Marape added that the technology opens a new pathway to sustainable development for Papua New Guinea and strikes a good balance between income generation for farmers and environmental conservation.
Source: China Economic Net, 2021-09-03
Footnote: At present, Juncao technology is transferred to South Africa, Rwanda, Lesotho, Papua New Guinea and Fiji under governmental cooperation or aiding projects agreements. By establishing demonstration and production bases locally and extending the technology into rural communities, the technology is highly welcomed by local people and governments, and makes great contribution to the communities by creating job opportunities, increasing farmers’ income, supplying healthy food, and protecting the environment.
For many poor farmers in Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Lesotho and Rwanda, juncao means a mushroom cash crop. It is a seemingly magic technology that enables them to grow many types of nutritious and delicious mushrooms from many kinds of dried chopped grasses, bringing in cash and dignity. [Research Insititute of Fujian Agriculrural and Foresty University, Fujian JUNCAO Bioenginering Research Center]