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HKBU institute to boost local farming and sustainable living

According to a recent press release, the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has launched its Institute of Bioresource and Agriculture (IBA) and the Sustainability Gallery today with a donation of HK$37.26 million from the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited 150th Anniversary Charity Programme.

The opening ceremony was jointly officiated by the Secretary for the Environment of the HKSAR Government, the Director of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of the HKSAR Government and the President of and professor at HKBU.

In his welcoming speech, the president of HKBU expressed his gratitude to HSBC for their support. He said the IBA is the first institute in Hong Kong to combine sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation.

Through academic research, professional training and public education, the Institute serves as a professional platform to revitalise the agricultural industry, to conserve bioresources and biodiversity, and to encourage the public to adopt sustainable practices in the community.

The Institute and the Department of Biology have successfully established the BSc (Hons) Bioresource and Agricultural Science degree programme and it is the first government-funded programme to integrate agriculture with bioresource management. Its creation heralds the start of an exciting new chapter in Hong Kong’s agricultural history.

The Director of the IBA stated that the institute will continue to implement its successful educational programmes to students and the public, which is expected to reach over 30,000 people. Visitors to the Institute’s Sustainability Gallery can also reach over 100,000 people in five years.

Besides launching the Bioresource and Agricultural Science programme, the institute will also provide extension services to local organic farmers on soil health and fertility, and teach them how to use fertilisers efficiently.

An Academician from the Chinese Academy in Engineering delivered a keynote speech at the ceremony. He shared his insights on the transformation of agriculture with an emphasis on green development in China. By promoting “the science and technology backyard”, his students work together with farmers in their villages which provides a good opportunity for students to perform their field research.

At the same time, they can exchange farming knowledge with the farmers with the purpose of creating an atmosphere which encourages people to share experiences and understand the farmers’ needs. During the process, the academician noted that “the backyard project” can train up new young farmers with practical experience.

The Sustainability Gallery (S Gallery), which is the first agriculture learning centre in Hong Kong, also launched on the same day. Furnished with immersive multimedia such as 4D, AR, VR and motion sensing, the S Gallery has 2,500 sq. ft. of space and features four exhibition zones, introducing biological resources, organic agriculture and the concept of sustainable consumption to visitors.

The Sustainability Gallery is divided into four exhibition zones:
• Time Travel Shuttle: The 180-degree panoramic screen is combined with 4D to create a time-travel space shuttle experience
• Resource Explorer: Interactive wall and AR technology is used to illustrate how bioresources are declining
• Planting the Future: Interactive games help people to learn more about organic farming
• Sustainable Living: Uses VR technology to help people to review their personal daily habits and learn how to be an environmental expert.

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