Starting this year, a special fund for a national technology-driven agricultural project will be increased to 100 million yuan(US$ 12 million)from the present 39 million yuan. Minister of Science and Technology, Xu Guanhua, said the investment is expected to help develop advanced farming skills to benefit the country's approximate 800 million farmers for agricultural production.
The agricultural project, entitled the Spark Programme, was approved by the central government in 1986 to boost rural economies and further increase farmers' incomes through new technology.
Agricultural development is confronted with such issues as staggering productivity, inadequate quality of farm produce and farmers' low income.
Xu Guanhua called on scientific departments to do their best in solving these issues, as agricultural sectors may face fierce competition after China enters the WTO.
The program has been implemented in 85 percent of China's counties during the past 15 years. More than 60 million farmers have mastered special skills, ranging from crop growing to farm produce processing. These skills have given an impetus to fattening farmers' wallets.
According to the long-term science development plan of the Ministry, during the 10th Five-Year Plan period, scientists will teach some 5,000 new agricultural techniques to another 30 million farmers.