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October 31, 2023  Xinhua  

Elevating Agri-tech for Guaranteed Food Security

Case Study;PHLM & Food Systems;Food Security;Modern Agriculture;Top-quality Grains

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Despite the challenges of adverse weather conditions in certain regions during the summer, Chinese farmers are in high spirits in the run-up to the sixth harvest festival, which will fall on Saturday, after securing a bumper harvest through their hard work with the support of agricultural science and technology.

China's output of early rice rose 0.8 percent year on year to reach 28.34 million tonnes in 2023, laying a solid foundation for stable grain production throughout the year.

Of all things, eating matters most, and food is the most basic necessity of the people, Chinese President Xi Jinping once said. He has always regarded food security as a top priority, and noted that the ultimate solution to safeguarding food security lies in enhancing science and technology.

During his recent inspection tour in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, a breadbasket of China, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, stressed that greater importance must be attached to the development of science and technology in agriculture so as to advance the development of high-tech agriculture, green agriculture, and quality and brand-based agriculture in a coordinated manner, noting that it is vital to strengthen the application of digital and biological technologies.

He urged the province to prioritize developing modern agriculture and take the lead in achieving modernization regarding agricultural equipment, science and technology, and operation and management, as well as in realizing agricultural informatization and the sustainability of resource utilization.

Xu Congxiang, a large-scale grain producer from Taihe County in east China's Anhui Province, is a keen learner and practitioner of agriculture science and technologies. He has devoted great efforts to selecting high-quality seed varieties, exploring agricultural technologies and promoting yield-increasing skills.

He wrote a letter to Xi last summer, detailing his experience in grain cultivation and his efforts in helping villagers get rid of poverty in the past 10-plus years.

Shortly after, Xu received a reply letter from Xi. In his letter, Xi expressed the hope that large-scale grain producers can leverage the advantages in scale operations, actively apply modern agricultural technologies, and set an example for small household farmers to expand grain production and improve grain quality, thus jointly contributing to national food security.

"In recent years, I've teamed up with research institutions to grow high-yielding crop varieties and test out advanced planting methods in our fields. These efforts helped us achieve high grain yields," Xu said.

Despite the impact of heavy rainfall, Xu reaped a plentiful wheat harvest this summer. He is also anticipating a corn and soybean harvest of approximately 1,200 mu (80 hectares) in early October.

Official data showed that the contribution rate of sci-tech progress in China's agriculture had increased from 54.5 percent in 2012 to over 61 percent in 2021. The comprehensive mechanization rate of crop cultivation and harvest also increased from 57.2 percent to 72 percent during this period.

Three years ago, Xi visited Lishu County in northeast China's Jilin Province. There, he was briefed on agricultural development and mechanized and large-scale farming. Walking into a cornfield, Xi stressed the integration of agriculture and technology, noting that farmers should be able to use the best technology to grow top-quality grains.

Lu Wei, who is in charge of a farmers' cooperative in Lishu, said that the use of intelligent agricultural machinery has been expanded in recent years, and farmers have achieved comprehensive mechanization from sowing to harvesting.

"We use tractors equipped with the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System during the spring ploughing season. They can realize unmanned driving according to preset routes, which greatly reduces our labor costs and enhances farming efficiency," said Lu.

With the growing support of science and technology, China's annual grain output has topped 650 billion kg for eight consecutive years.

Last year, the country's total grain output was 686.55 billion kg, and its per capita food supply was 486.1 kg, which was well above the internationally recognized food security line of 400 kg.


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