Water-Saving Agriculture in Shaanxi Urged to Develop

Pang Jufeng, member of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), vice president of Shaanxi Association of Intellectual Circles and director of Institute of Earth Probe and Information Technology under the Xi’an Petroleum College, proposed to give more support to the construction of dry farming and water saving facilities in Shaanxi Province at the ongoing fourth session of the ninth CPPCC.

Shaanxi in northwest China suffers a serious water shortage. It encounters a very serious drought almost every 10 years, and a small one each year. Even in a rainy season, unexpected drought may happen. Therefore, it is of great significance to develop dry farming and water saving agriculture in the province.

The key to promote such agriculture is to improve the using rate of natural rainfall, Pang said. At present, only 30 to 40 percent of natural precipitations flow to rivers or penetrate into underground, while a larger portion is evaporated. Through years of research and practice, Shaanxi has accumulated experiences in water saving suitable to different areas.

Shaanxi has now set 12 counties as models for water saving and dry farming. The area planting improved varieties of grains is 47.27 million mu, and the areas covered with plastic films and strains to preserve the soil moisture are respectively 1.5175 million mu and 337,000 mu. Water saving irrigation is employed on an area of 33,000 mu. Using the technology of dry farming, the 12 counties have improved their grain production capacity by 14,0000 tons on an annual base, and farmers have increased their annual income by 86.8 yuan.

In line with Pang’s proposal, Shaanxi should set up 60 more pilot counties for dry farming during the 10th Five-Year-Plan period. That is to say, the number of counties practicing dry farming will reach 72 by 2005. To achieve this goal, an investment of 250 million is needed.

As Shaanxi has a limited financial ability, Pang suggested a full support from the government. He urged the construction of dry farming and water saving agricultural facilities in Shaanxi be put on agenda of the government. Once successful, the experience thus achieved can be promoted in other acrid areas of northwest China. He proposed that the State Development Planning Commission and Ministry of Agriculture could arrange 15 counties each year for demonstration. And also, he urged more support from the central government both in investment and in technology.

(CIIC by Yang Ling 03/06/2001)