The government will spend 8 billion yuan (US$963 million) during the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05) period to update agricultural technology.
The amount is four times that spent during the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000) period, the Ministry of Science and Technology has said.
Updated technology will improve agricultural productivity, increase farmers' income and hone their skills, said the ministry's Department for Rural and Social Development.
Technology firms and intermediate service agencies have been urged to make farmers familiar with new techniques, said Wang Xiaofang, the department's director.
A chain of agricultural laboratories, technology parks and markets would be set up to help cultivate talents using advanced expertise and commercial agro-techniques.
Water-saving irrigation methods, high-yield crop cultivation, farm produce processing, higher production in animal husbandry sector, pest prevention and fighting diseases will be the technology development's priority areas, Wang said.
New livestock vaccines and fodder will be evolved to help increase the animal husbandry sector's production and, the dairy industry will be nurtured into one of the pillars of the economy.
The government will set new standards to prompt the agricultural wing to produce toxic-free food and township firms to adopt environmental-friendly technology, Wang said.
"Special efforts will be made to develop technologies for storing, processing and packaging of grains, edible oil, fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products to strengthen their competitiveness and help fatten farmers' wallets," Wang said.
Water-saving irrigation process and rain-water collection techniques will be introduced in the arid North and Northwest China to increase agricultural production.
In the next few years, scientists are expected to carry out more studies on animal and plant genes' modification and food security, he said.
China will increase agricultural technology collaboration with developed countries within the WTO framework and technology exchanges with developing countries in crop seeds, breeding technology, pest prevention and mechanization of farm work, the ministry's Department for International Co-operation said.
(People's Daily March 19, 2002)