Mechanization is the main symbol of modern agriculture and will greatly improve the living conditions of farmers, according to Xu Kuangdi, president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Xu was speaking in Beijing over the weekend at the International Forum on Development Strategy of Agricultural Equipment and Mechanization in Less Developed Regions.
Organized by the academy and the United Nations' Asia Pacific Center for Agricultural Engineering and Mechanization, the forum promotes international technical exchanges and cooperation in agricultural mechanization.
"The largest developing country in the world, China has entered an important stage in fostering modern agriculture to contribute to the comprehensive well-being of society," said Xue Liang, chief economist of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Considered a great innovation for Chinese farmers, the interregional wheat-harvesting model has gained popularity in rural areas and greatly improved efficiency.
During the wheat harvesting seasons, combines travel hundreds of kilometers, bringing crops in as they go. A high-performance combine can cover 200-270 hectares and operate for as long as 40 days.
The efficient interregional harvesting model, designed specifically for the small-scale farming systems of China, has also attained a high utilization rate for agricultural equipment. The average farm household has only 0.52 hectares of cultivated land, less than one-fortieth of that in Europe and one-four-hundredth of that in the United States.
Now the model is being extended to other field crops such as paddy rice, and the application area reaching across the nation.
Similar technological innovation and transfers have intensified in China in recent years, remarkably improving the research and manufacturing level of agricultural equipment. Meanwhile, governments at all levels have adopted policies supporting the development of agricultural mechanization. Agricultural producers are provided incentives to manufacture farm machinery, which encourages farmers to purchase such equipment.
Additionally, the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress has approved the Law on Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization, which will go into effect on November 1.
(China Daily October 18, 2004)