Martin Kropff made his first official visit to China as CIMMYT Director General from 28 August to 1 September. He was accompanied by his wife and by Thomas Lumpkin, CIMMYT’s former DG. Major activities included meeting with Jiayang Li, President of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), and visiting the potential site for a new China-CIMMYT center in Tongzhou, located an hour’s drive from CAAS headquarters. Kropff also met with Jiangguo Zhang, Vice-Minister and Administrator of the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA), and officially presented a statue of Norman Borlaug to him in recognition of SAFEA and Jiangguo Zhang’s personal support for the CIMMYT-China collaboration.
The visitors from CIMMYT also had a fruitful discussion with the China Scholarship Council (SCC), which has sponsored 18 visiting scientists at CIMMYT. Liu Jinghui, SCC Secretary General, was very impressed with CIMMYT’s impact both worldwide and in China and agreed to increase the allowance of visiting scientists and postgraduate students from US$ 900 per month to US$ 1400 at CIMMYT HQ and all regional offices. Each year, SCC will offer more than 10 scholarships, ranging from 12 to 24 months, to train at CIMMYT. A memorandum of understanding between CIMMYT and SCC will be signed soon. In addition to these activities, Kropff visited China’s National Nature Science Foundation and met with CIMMYT Board Member Feng Feng.
Kropff also visited the CIMMYT office at CAAS and attended presentations by CIMMYT staff stationed at four locations. He mentioned that he will continue the work Tom Lumpkin did in China, which is the reason they decided to travel together. Maize and wheat are, respectively, the first and third leading crop in China. CIMMYT has worked with China for over 35 years; it opened its China office in 1997 and will continue to expand its collaboration.