sci-tech commissioners: vital for rural revitalization
lin zhanxi (second from right) exchanges experience of planting juncao with locals in minning town, ningxia hui autonomous region. (photo: xinhua)
by chen chunyou
sci-tech commissioners have contributed much to rural development over the last decade. their research achievements have been transformed into real grass root projects on the ground, and helped to solve actual difficulties of people at grassroots level.
according to the report to the 20th national congress of the communist party of china, china will continue advancing rural revitalization in an all-round way, giving priority to the development of agriculture and rural areas, and allowing sci-tech commissioners to have more opportunities to use their expertise.
at the "delegates' passage" of the cpc national congress, lin zhanxi, chief scientist of china national engineering research center of juncao technology, and zhu youyong, academician of the chinese academy of engineering, answered questions from the press, relating their stories as sci-tech commissioners.
juncao, a term that literally means "mushroom" and "grass", is a perennial plant in tropical and subtropical regions, but it is difficult to grow in the desert.
in the spring of 2013, lin, at the age of 70, came to ulan buh desert where the annual rainfall is less than 160 millimeters, and strong winds all year round make grass seedlings almost impossible to flourish. despite this challenge, lin made many trips to the desert with his team to conduct experiments, aiming to develop a variety of juncao that can survive in the desert.
over the last ten years, lin's team has introduced 20 different varieties of juncao, finally adapting two varieties suitable for growth in the desert, which yields up to 12 tons of juncao per mu (one mu approximates 666.7 square meters).
in order to better promote juncao technology, lin and his colleagues engineered this technology based on local conditions, so that people could easily understand the planting process.
now, juncao technology is widely used for the production of mushrooms, animal feed and biomass fuel. it has become a major industry for poverty alleviation in ningxia's xihaigu, helping lift more than 17,500 farmers out of poverty.
another success story comes from lancang county, which is located in southwest china's yunan province. it was previously an impoverished area of china, and declared its victory over absolute poverty in november 2021.
the dry land in lancang's haozhiba village is unsuitable for planting rice. in order to increase the varieties of food and increase grain production, zhu moved his lab to the village in 2015, where he led his team to develop a technology that enables rice to grow in dry soil.
the technology was well-received by local farmers, who became experts at rice production. this year, 50,000 mu of land was planted with this variety of rice in yunan province, among which 405 mu was produced by haozhiba village, with the total yield reaching 280,000 kg.
there are 277 people in haozhiba, and now the per capita output of rice is more than 1,000 kg, offering an abundant supply for local people, said zhu, adding that after being removed from the poverty list, the staple food of the locals changed from coarse grains to rice.
in addition to this progress, the team also helped farmers to plant radix notoginseng, winter potatoes and vegetables, which all have grown to be important industries for the locals.