V. Developing Agriculture by Relying on Science, Technology
and Education and Changing the Grain Increase Method
To change the grain increase method we must first carry out reform, optimize the industrial structure and farming system, stress scientific management, enhance the level of intensive farming in grain production and raise the utilization rate of agricultural resources. The most important thing is to rely on progress in science and technology, step up efforts to develop grain production by relying on science, technology and education and concentrate on high yields, high quality, high efficiency and low consumption. Since the birth of the People's Republic, China has made over 30,000 major agricultural scientific and technological achievements, of which over 6,000 have won awards from the state or ministries, and some of them have reached the international advanced level. The va"iriety of the most important grain crops has been renewed three to five times, each time resulting in increased yields of 10 percent or more. In the past decade the total area sown to hybrid rice has reached 160 million ha, with an increased output of 240 million tons; the large-scale popularization of various comprehensive cultivation technologies has played an important role in grain production increase; and in the hi-tech sphere, including bioengineering, a number of important technologies, such as the new combination of two-line hybrid rice, have shown favorable development prospects. But, as compared with countries with advanced agriculture, China's agricultural science and technology lags fairly far behind. Hence, the Chinese government has chosen and put into practice the strategy of developing agriculture by relying on science, technology and education. It will adopt a series of measures to enable science and technology to play a greater role in increased grain production.
-- Speeding up the implementation of the ``Seed Project.'' China will perfect the breeding, import, processing, marketing and extension system of improved varieties. By 2000 seeds of all main grain crops will be renewed; 50 percent of commodity seeds will be coated; and the unified seed supply rate and the coverage rate of improved varieties of rice, corn and wheat will be raised. China's advantages of rich germplasm resources and a good seed-breeding basis will be brought into full play. In addition, China will strengthen the cultivation of new varieties of rice, wheat and corn, and speed up the replacement of the older generations of varieties by new ones.
-- Quickening the transfer of existing scientific and technological achievements into productivity, and the scientific research and importation of key technologies concerning grain production. In the next few years China will concentrate on spreading the following important agricultural techniques: improved new varieties, paddy rice nurture in dry nursery and thin planting by throwing rice seedlings, plastic mulching, precise and semi-precise mechanical seeding, the integrated pest management, scientific fertilization, water-saving irrigation, and dry land farming. Efforts will be continued to be made to tap the potential of traditional agricultural technologies for increasing output, such as intensive cultivation, increased amounts of organic fertilizers, and the combination of utilizing land with maintaining it, to form a technical application system integrating traditional and modern agriculture. In addition, the country will perfect the three-level (county, township and village) agrotechnique popularization network step by step, support the development of various non-governmental special technical organizations and form a service system for popularizing agricultural technologies in which the state, collectives and various non-governmental technical organizations will work in coordination and complement each other. Scientific research projects with special influence on grain production will be given extra support and the import of a number of important grain production technologies will be speeded up.
-- Reinforcing vocational training among the farmers. China will make full use of its existing 500-odd agricultural and forestry polytechnical schools, more than 2,000 county-level agricultural broadcasting and TV schools and grass-roots agrotechnology popularization organs to improve farmers' abilities to accept and apply new agrotechnologies through extensive vocational training, especially through the ``Green Certificate'' project. By 2000, ten million farmers will have obtained such certificates and large numbers of grain-growing experts will have emerged.
-- Deepening reform of the system for agricultural science-technology and education. China will improve its agricultural scientific research structure and set up a new scientific research system featuring advanced disciplines and the close integration of scientific research with production. The state and local governments will selectively support leading agricultural scientific research and education institutions to foster a capable contingent of scientists for important basic practical technology and new- and hi-tech research. Some people engaged in scientific research and education will be encouraged in an active way to go deep into the countryside to spread technology and train farmers. The government's unified plan for agricultural science and technology and relevant education should be strengthened to speed up the integration of agricultural scientific research and education, and popularization of agrotechnologies to improve grain production.
-- Efforts will also be made to raise the utilization rate of resources and reduce the loss of grain. Concrete steps will be taken as follows: Operation of scale in an appropriate degree will be carried out gradually and the intensification level of grain production raised where possible. Technologies will be actively popularized to lower grain production costs, reduce the waste of materials and improve grain production efficiency. The management of all grain production links -- sowing, harvesting, storage, transportation and processing -- will be improved and energy-saving machinery widely applied along with methods to prevent wastage. The quality of seeds will be improved and the quantity of seeds used will be reduced through selection, processing and coating. Harvesting should be further mechanized. Advanced grain-protection technology should be applied and new packaging technology and materials adopted for grain storage. Traditional transportation methods should be improved with the modernization of railways, highways and waterways. New technologies and equipment should be adopted to improve the technical properties of grain-processing machines.