|Statistical data on the use
of agricultural machinery, fertilizer application, irrigation, and rural electricity
consumption in China are readily available and can be used to indirectly assess the state
of technological modernization in China's agricultural sector. However, there is little
quantitative information available on the efficiency level of these technologies. For
instance, while irrigated areas have increased significantly in China, not much is known
about the maintenance and actual performance of irrigation systems. Researchers have
reported low (or even declining) efficiency; in some cases, water losses were estimated to
be in the order of 40-50%.
Economic statistics indicate that the productivity of China's food industry has increased,
but detailed information on the extent of technological modernization in food processing,
preservation, packaging, etc., is not available (at least, not to the author).
Statistical information on transport capacities and infrastructure in China is also
available. In general, this information is considered adequate for assessing the general
China's science infrastructure has certainly opened up
to the West. Numerous Chinese researchers now publish in international journals;
collaborative projects with other countries are abundant; and many Chinese scientists have
visited foreign universities and research centers. Personal communication between Chinese
and foreign researchers has become much more open and direct than in the past. Yet, many
Western scholars still have the impression that timely, accurate, and relevant
information is still a rather precious commodity in China.