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Int'l Rice Congress Opens in Beijing
Rice is the most important food for the world, feeding more than half of its population. Rice-growing areas in the world now total 150 million hectares, with total output exceeding 580 million tons.

The China Academy of Engineering, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the International Rice Research Institute jointly organized the meeting to find ways of improving the technology used in rice growing.

Song Jian is from the China Academy of Engineering.

“China’s agricultural experts have made great contributions to China’s food supply. China developed hybrid rice technology, increasing the per-unit rice output by 30%. In 2001, China decoded the gene diagram of rice, laying a sound foundation for the further development of rice technology. These have greatly raised the per-unit output and total output of rice.”

During the meeting, participants will talk about rice research, production, processing, trade and consumption, as well as the sustainable improvement of the livelihoods of rice farmers and consumers.

Over the past few decades, there has been rapid progress in the development of agricultural technology. However, food security still remains a concern in many countries. At present, one ninth of the world's population still suffers from food shortages and famine. As the world's population continues to grow, farmland and freshwater for agriculture has dwindled.

At the opening ceremony of the meeting, President Jiang Zemin called for international cooperation to solve these problems.

“To develop agriculture all over the world, we need the joint efforts of all countries. Based on the respect of intellectual property rights, China encourages its experts to actively participate in international cooperation.”

The meeting is scheduled to last until Friday.

(China Radio International September 17, 2002)

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