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Agricultural science boosts China's grain output
( 2002-09-17 15:56 ) (8 )

  China's per capita grain supply has surged from 300 to 400 kilograms in 20 years, despite an increase of 270 million in the population, as a result of the development of agricultural science, a top Chinese official said Monday in Beijing.

  Song Jian, vice-chairman of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference told the first International Rice Congress,which opened Monday in Beijing, that Chinese agricultural science had contributed much to feeding China's 1.27 billion population.

  China had given top priority to agricultural and rural development, and as a result, had succeeded in sustaining 22 percent of the world population with only 9 percent of the world's farmland.

  "China is showing the world the way to economic progress and poverty reduction under extreme population pressure on limited natural resources," said Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and executive director of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee.

  China had become the world's biggest rice producer and consumer,accounting for 20 percent of the world's total rice acreage and 31 percent of the output, said Song, adding that over half of Chinesepopulation made rice their staple food.

  Song said due to the efforts of agricultural scientists, China had witnessed a continuous upgrading of rice varieties and farming technologies, with the total output and the yield per hectare still rising.   

  China was the first country to popularize hybrid rice nationwide, and it has accounted for over half of the rice land and over 60 percent of the total rice output in China since it wasinnovated by Chinese agronomist Yuan Longping in the 1970s.

  Yuan, dubbed the "father of hybrid rice", once won a 5-million-yuan State Supreme Science and Technology Award for his outstanding achievements in breeding high-yield hybrid rice, whichhas substantially increased China's grain output.

  "Thanks to hybrid rice, Chinese farmers can now maintain sustainable rice production for food security, while saving several million hectares of rice land for other production activities to increase farmers' incomes," Peter Kenmoore, of the United States Food and Agriculture Organization, said.

  According to Shen Guofang, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, China's agriculture was still confronted with many challenges, and the way forward for the sustainable development of agriculture was the revolution in agricultural science and technologies.

  The five-day International Rice Congress is to focus on rice production and to urge the international community to continue attaching importance to impoverished rice farmers and consumers and protect the ecological environment.



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