Eminent agronomist Prof. Yuan Longping urged Sunday the government to adhere to a policy aimed to guarantee China's food security by self-reliant effort on domestic production.
Food security bears on national security, and "only when we strike at a basic balance in food supply and demand can we ensure a positive position on the international arena," said the prestigious professor at a plenary meeting of the country's top advisory body, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
To this end, he added, the role of science and technology must be brought into full play, and certain acreage must be allocated and secured for cereals production and the Chinese farmers' enthusiasm in grain production have to be well protected.
Prof. Yuan, a noted academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said that China's grain output continued to drop over the past few years, with the per-capita grain supply declining from 414 kg in 1996 to 333 kg in 2003, leaving a shortfall of 25 million to 350 million tons annually.
The renowned agronomist was named the "father of hybrid rice" for his tremendous success in developing hybrid rice in the 1970s, and the new strains resulted in a sharp rise in rice output.
Hybrid rice, which has been introduced to over half of the rice acreage in China, makes up more than 60 percent of its total rice output in the country.
(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2004)