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Technology sector gets US$1.3 billion
By Cui Ning (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-31 23:57

The Ministry of Science and Technology will invest 11 billion yuan (US$1.32 billion) this year to fuel the country's high technology and agricultural development.

Particular efforts will paid to ensure pollution-free grain safety and help farmers fatten their pocketbooks while improving health and medical services, China Daily learned from the ministry's Department for Development and Planning.

Projects for high-yield rice, wheat and maize will be expanded in the northeast, north and central areas of China to sustain the country's grain production capacity, said Jia Jingdun, an official of the ministry's Department for Rural and Social Development.

Through regional intermediary agencies, more farmers will be taught technology to better process produce to increase their incomes, said Jia.

Water-saving technology will be expanded in the arid north and northwest parts of the country to help quench thirsty crops in those areas and increase local agricultural production. Meanwhile, grass and forest conservation technologies will be applied in these areas to better protect the ecology, said Jia.

The country has built 36 national agricultural technology parks in both eastern and western areas to mobilize adjacent agricultural production.

Jia said the parks are expected to help spread new farming skills in more provinces or autonomous regions.

With regards to health and medical services, scientists are expected to make technological breakthroughs in testing and in the prevention and treating hepatitis, AIDS and other difficult diseases.

In high technology, firms will focus on projects as integrated circuit design, computer software, electric vehicles, information security, electronic business, digital machine tools and new material resources.

Upgrading traditional industries through high technology is an important step this year, officials said.

The ministry has also started new projects to help upgrade old and industrial bases in Northeast China. The first group of programmes cover such areas as traditional Chinese medicine, the manufacturing industry using information technology, the milk industry and animal husbandry field.

Moreover, scientific officials from the European Union (EU) have shown great interest in the ministry's projects and upgrading old industries using high technology in Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces.

EU officials Wednesday visited some State-owned firms in cities of Dalian, Shenyang, Changchun and Harbin in the three provinces to discuss technological exchanges with local governments and firm executives.

Germany officials are visiting industrial firms in Northeast China, and Germany and China are to soon sign a memorandum of understanding to help restructure traditional industries, train staff of enterprises and inject high technology into old industries in Northeast China.

To ensure the implementation of big scientific projects this year, the ministry will invest an additional 800 million yuan (US$96 million) to improve research facilities.

The ministry will soon circulate three regulations to help rationalize the use of large scientific instruments, build facilities for basic scientific research and co-share scientific information nationwide over the next five years.

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