On Friday, April 7, 2017, Tian Zhong, First Secretary of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China to Greece, and Zhou Roujun, Economic and Commercial Advisor of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China to Greece, visited the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (CIHEAM-MAICh). The visit took place in the framework of the exploratory program organized by the Center for Science, Technology and Innovation (ASEM), the PRAXI Network and the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Greece.
During the visit the embassy officials were informed by the management about the objectives and actions of the Institute, they were guided through the Institute by the scientific staff of the programs and workshops and they visited the International Conference Center of MAICh.
They were also briefed on the postgraduate program and research activities on the use of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems in Environmental Monitoring and Management, as well as in the Ecology and Management of Protected Areas, by the Department of Geoinformatics in Environmental Management. Particular reference was made to the partnerships developed by the department with universities in Europe and North Africa, as well as collaborations with academics from China.
At the Genetics and Biotechnology Laboratory, they were briefed on recent advances in the usefulness of genetics in plants, particularly tomatoes.
At MAICh’s Chemistry of Natural Products and Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, they were informed about the education and research carried out in the framework of various programs and the postgraduate theses that come out of the Institute, as well as the provision of services for the certification of food quality, mainly olive oil and honey, based on the applicable European and national legislation. They also discussed the issue of imported honey from China in the European and Greek markets, how to deal with various forms of fraud, mainly through the pollen analysis of honey where analysts recognize so many different types of pollen from 'foreign' plants and different combinations of local’ and 'foreign' types of pollen in honey. Finally, ways of cooperating with Chinese researchers/analysts were presented and proposed, such as through the International Honey Commission, which the MAICh laboratory is taking part in (with hundreds of other laboratories from around the world), but no Chinese laboratories to date.
They were guided around the Plant Virology Laboratory where they were informed about the workshop activities and discussed common themes in scientific fields. It was emphasized that there is an expected collaboration with fellow Chinese scientists under the expected invitation to promote the Greek-Chinese bilateral co-operation framework.
They also showed great interest in the activities of the Laboratory of Soil Science and Folklore Diagnostics and in particular the cooperation with DEDISA and the Municipality of Chania. More specifically, they were informed about the experiments carried out by the soil laboratory for the creation of the KIPOUROS planting compost, the regular control of the production line as well as the quality characteristics of the product.
At MAICh’s Mediterranean Plants Conservation Unit, and in particular the Seed Bank and the Herbarium (Botanical Museum), they were informed about studies and conservation actions for rare, endemic and endangered plant species in Crete, as well as relevant cooperation programs and networks in Crete, in which the Mediterranean Plants Conservation Unit participates.
Finally, the Department of Economics and Business Administration presented the Tourism Observatory, in cooperation with the Region of Crete and the Hoteliers Association of the Prefecture of Chania.