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Agro Tech to Be Upgraded
The government will invest 8 billion yuan (US$963 million) to develop agricultural technology for the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05) period.

The amount is four times that invested in the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000) period, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Technology will be developed to improve agricultural productivity, increase farmers' income and upgrade their skills, according to the ministry's Department for Rural and Social Development.

Technological firms and intermediate service agencies are encouraged to familiarize farmers with the new techniques, said Wang Xiaofang, the department's director.

A group of agricultural laboratories, technological parks and technology markets will be set up to help cultivate talents with advanced agricultural expertise and commercialize agro-techniques.

Efforts will be made to develop technologies for water-saving agriculture, high-yield crop growing, plant diseases and pest prevention, farm produce processing and high-production of animal husbandry, Wang said.

New livestock vaccines and fodder will be developed to ensure an efficient production of animal husbandry. And the dairy industry is expected to be nurtured as a new pillar to fuel the country's economy.

The government will also implement new standards to stimulate agricultural sectors to produce pollution-free food and township enterprises to adopt environmentally friendly technology, Wang said.

"Special efforts will be made to develop technologies for the storing, processing and packing of grains, edible oil, fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products so as to strengthen their market competitiveness and help fatten farmers' wallets," Wang said.

Water-saving irrigation and rain collection technologies will be introduced to the arid northern and northwestern parts of China to boost agricultural production there.

In the next few years, scientists will also increase their studies of animal and plant genes modification and food security, he said.

Regarding international co-operation, the nation will enhance agricultural technological collaboration with developed countries within the framework of the World Trade Organization, as well as technological exchanges with developing countries in crop seeds, breeding technology, pest prevention and mechanization of farm work, according to the ministry's Department for International Cooperation.

(China Daily March 18, 2002)

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