In the agricultural sci-tech sphere, China has constantly narrowed its gap with the advanced countries. The contribution rate of scientific and technological progress to China’s agriculture has increased from 20 percent in 1949 to 42 percent. The agricultural sci-tech departments have made much progress in bio-technology, new and high technology and basic research, and the cultivation of plant cells and tissues, anther culture, haploid breeding and the research on its application have reached the world’s advanced level. Bilinear hybrid rice, hybrid corn breeding, and multi-crop planting technologies featuring intensive cultivation have reached or approached the world’s advanced level. In addition, an important breakthrough has been made in the research of making use of the advantages of hybrid beans.
In February 2001, the Chinese scientist Yuan Longping was given the state highest sci-tech award. His research achievements in hybrid rice have rewritten the Chinese history of the cultivation of rice in the second half of the 20th century, and made outstanding contributions to solving the issue of mankind’s “grain ration.” Since 1949, China’s agricultural scientists have improved more than 40 kinds of crops, and developed nearly 5,000 high-yield, good-quality new varieties with strong resistance. Thus the major farm crops have been renovated four to five times, each renovation increasing yields by 10 to 30 percent. The per-ha yield of grain crops has increased from 1.16 tons in 1950 to 4.82 tons, an increase of more than four times.
The relevant state departments have organized the implementation of the sci-tech programs directly geared to the rural economic development, such as the Spark Program, the Promotion Plan of Important Achievements, the Bumper Harvest Plan, and the Prairie Fire Program, to send advanced sci-tech achievements to the countryside and to farmers’ homes, thus playing an important role in improving farmers’ sci-tech quality.
Meanwhile, agricultural departments have imported more than 100,000 farm crops and nursery stocks from different countries and regions of the world, and cultivated new varieties of rice, corn and wheat. Plastic film mulching, dry breeding of rice seedlings and their sparse planting, new farm tools and farm pesticides and other advanced technologies have been extensively applied in production.