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Arguments - Intervention Possibilities
Science and Technology in Agriculture, Livestock Production, and the Food Industry
What could be done to promote science and technology for improving China's food security? China is facing the following major challenges and opportunities in the science and technology sector:
WB00860_.gif (262 bytes) It is necessary to stop the "brain drain," which has deprived China's scientific community of some of its greatest talents. There are numerous Chinese scientists at Western universities and research centers who have chosen to stay abroad after being educated in the West. The USA, in particular, has benefited from this flow of talent. Improved conditions in China's science infrastructure have motivated some of these researchers to return to China in recent years. This trend should be re-inforced.  
WB00860_.gif (262 bytes) It would help if the research institutions could be focused and streamlined. First steps have been taken to concentrate basic research in areas that are of strategic relevance for improving China's food security, such as research in plant genetics and molecular biology. As data on national research investments show, there was a massive increase in the number of agricultural researchers, from 10,166 in 1965-1969 to 61,835 in 1990-1994 (see Table 1).
Table 1
WB00860_.gif (262 bytes) As in many other countries, there is a big gap in China between the center and the periphery. While some research institutes have already mastered highly advanced methods of plant chromosome engineering, the farmers in the hinterland often can use only the most basic technology. This is not only a problem of lack of investment in agriculture, but also one of knowledge transfer. China should develop a "fast-track" program for implementing available agricultural know-how at the village level, particularly in those regions that have clearly fallen behind in the general modernization of agriculture.  
WB00860_.gif (262 bytes) Finally, China could strengthen the relationship between industry, science, and business, both for research funding and for the transformation of research results into marketable agricultural products. China has already encouraged commercialization of research in the past decade; research centers have earned a portion of their income through technology sales and collaboration with international companies. Some authors, however, have warned that commercialization might distract researchers from their primary task and thus weaken research effectiveness.  
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Related Arguments

Science & Technology:   Trends     Impact    Data Quality    Prediction Error    Intervention Possibilities    Intervention Costs

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Revision 2.0 (First revision published in 1999)  - Copyright 2011 by Gerhard K. Heilig. All rights reserved. (First revision: Copyright 1999 by IIASA.)