The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) has announced that it will continue to promote scientific and technological innovation to support the construction of a strong agricultural sector in China
According to CAAS, innovation efforts in 2023 will focus on six fields: seed research and development, arable land conservation, agricultural machinery and equipment, agricultural bio-security, green agriculture, and rural development.
Wu Kongming, president of CAAS, highlighted the role of sci-tech innovation in agricultural development at the CAAS 2023 Working Conference. "Science and technology have become the most important driving forces for agricultural and rural development," he commented.
Currently, China ranks top in the world in terms of both the number of highly cited papers and the number of invention patent applications in the agricultural field. The contribution rate of agricultural sci-tech progress in China increased from 54.5% in 2012 to 61.5% in 2021, while the comprehensive mechanisation level of crop cultivation, planting and harvesting, had grown from 57% in 2012 to over 72% in 2021.
"This year, we will accelerate the integration of science and education, science and industry, and enhance our overall ability to support the stable and safe supply of food and important agricultural products, and promote rural revitalisation," Wu said.
Joint research and technology demonstrations will be carried out in cooperation with neighbouring countries, as well as key countries related to the Belt and Road Initiative.
CAAS signed letters of intent for cooperation with 19 international partners in 2022 featuring 121 new international cooperation projects - 1.5 times the number recorded in 2021. The academy is preparing the construction of a China-Africa agricultural science and technology innovation alliance. The construction of joint laboratories in Kazakhstan, Romania and Uruguay is also progressing smoothly.
During the annual conference, the academy also unveiled 10 major agricultural science advances achieved during the past year, including studies in high-yield genes in rice, genetic diversity in potatoes and genetic variation in tomatoes.
One of the major discoveries of Chinese agricultural scientists is a gene in crops which can improve the efficiency of photosynthesis and nitrogen utilisation, significantly boosting grain yield.
This discovery could provide a potential solution for increasing agricultural productivity and efficient utilisation of resources, and contribute to human food security.
Another study by Chinese scientists is the first to reveal the complete process of chitin biosynthesis, providing a new direction for the original innovation of green pesticides.