China reaping harvest of agricultural R&D
China is transforming its traditional agricultural sector, using science and technology to drive rural revitalization and modernization.
Delivering a report on the development of China’s agricultural science and technology recently, Tang Huajun, president of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), said remarkable progress has been made in innovation, which has played an important role in ensuring national food security and increasing farmers’ incomes.
However, production costs remain high while the price of products has reached its “ceiling”, resulting in reduced profits. China is also facing challenges such as limited resources and environmental pollution, and lacks core competitiveness, Tang said.
Scientific and technological innovation is urgently required to facilitate supply-side structural reform, promote environment-friendly development and support the implementation of rural revitalization, Tang said.
The academy has drawn up a five-year plan for developing key technologies in fields such as high-quality crop varieties, automated machines, agricultural products processing, modern food manufacturing, water efficiency, pollution control, agricultural waste recycling, and ecological restoration and protection.
According to the CAAS report, scientific and technological progress contributed to 57.5 percent of China’s agricultural growth in 2017, in comparison with 53.5 percent in 2012.
Chinese researchers have made several breakthrough scientific and technological achievements since 2012, including cultivation and promotion of high-yield rice species and new genetically-modified cotton species that resist insects, as well as the successful development of highly efficient vaccines for the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus, the report said.
With diminishing availability of farm land, fresh water and other resources, science and technology is playing a bigger role in lifting grain yields. China’s grain output has been stable at over 600 million tonnes for each of the last five years.
The wide application of biotechnology, information technology, materials technology and resource and environmental technology has boosted research in fields such as animal and plant breeding, pest control, processing, storage and transportation, and quality and safety of agricultural products, Tang said.