The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has designated guaranteeing food safety for the future population peak of 1.6 billion as its first and foremost target under the stress of China's existing resources, said a CAS official at its annual work conference of 2001.
Agriculture is a leading industry in China, which involves a rural population of 900 million. Although rural reforms have been implemented for 20 years and China has basically realized self-sufficiency in food supply, many deep-seated problems have not been fundamentally settled. The contradiction between the enhancement of the quantity and quality of farm crops and the inadequate protection and utilization of germ plasm resource; the declining guarantee of water and soil resources and the low utilization rate, the worsening agricultural environment and frequent natural disasters, the huge base number of population and demands for high-quality agricultural produce will exist for a long period of time to come. All these problems will permanently affect China's food security and ecological environment.
In addition, in the more intense international competition after China's accession to the WTO, the CAS will set the guarantee of rural economic security as its second target, and the saving of resources, improvement of ecology and quality and increase of efficiency as the long-term goal for guaranteeing the sustainable development of China's agriculture.
To achieve the above targets step by step, the CAS will carry out strategic basic studies targeted at enhancement of agricultural output and quality, and of anti-inversion; it will engage in the strategic high and new technology represented by biological, information and new material technologies and their integration, as well as common, key technology research and demonstration based mainly on water saving, calamity prevention and environmental improvement.
Meanwhile, on the basis of existing research bases in the southwest, Shanghai and the northwest, the CAS will set up four more bases, that is, life science study base in Beijing, Yangtze river valley ecological environment research base, ecological system management and modern agriculture R&D base and marine science research base in the northeast.
(People's Daily 01/11/2001)