Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Chinese President Addresses International Rice Congress

President Jiang joined the 1,200 Chinese and foreign agricultural scientists and officials at the opening of the International Rice Congress Mondday, noting it is very important that countries and world institutions meet to discuss issues concerning the development of the rice industry.


A grand ceremony was held Monday in Beijing to mark the opening of the 1st International Rice Congress. Chinese President Jiang Zemin attended the ceremony and delivered an important speech.

In the course of his remarks, President Jiang underlined the importance of rice among the world's staple foods, noting that it is the most popular in the world and also has the longest history. It is very important, therefore, that scientists, entrepreneurs and government officials from various countries and representatives from international institutions meet to discuss issues and relevant researches concerning the development of the rice industry.

President Jiang added that, over the past century, science and technology have developed rapidly, effectively boosting the development of productive forces and the improvement of the people's living quality. The agricultural, scientific and technological revolutions have greatly improved promoted the world's agricultural production, especially the sharp growth of food output, which has, in turn, served as a solid foundation for economic growth and social stability, especially in developing countries.

He cautioned that the world's agricultural industry is facing new challenges and acknowledged that food safety remains a worldwide problem. A considerable number of countries and regions have yet to resolve these food problems, and a total of 790 million people still lack adequate nutrition. These problems and challenges require concerted efforts and cooperation among governments and insightful people from all walks of life.

Since the late 20th century, he noted, a new agricultural, scientific and technological revolution has been flourishing throughout the world. This revolution is expected to generate profound changes in the concept, structure, function, system and other aspects of agriculture.

Thus far, international cooperative research on plant genome sequencing represented by rice has progressed substantially. A team of Chinese scientists recently became the first to publish rice genome sequencing maps through their own efforts. These results are for the common good of the humanity and should be used to benefit the earth's entire population. Equal opportunity and equal access with regard to the application of these results should therefore be guaranteed, especially for developing countries.

The international community should attach great importance and value to the development opportunities brought about by scientific and technological advancement, he said. Developing countries should seize opportunities and actively participate in them, so asto promote the growth of their local economies and societies. Developed countries should have a deep understanding of the increasingly severe North-South disparity and its impact on global stability and sustainable development and should provide more aid for developing countries in the areas of technology, capital, personnel, information and other aspects.

President Jiang introduced China's achievements in rice research over the past half century since the founding of new China and its contribution to world food production and food safety.

He said China's agriculture has made outstanding achievements, however, China is still a heavily-populated agricultural country, with per-capita natural resources lower than the world average. Henoted that effectively increasing the quality and efficiency of agricultural production while simultaneously carrying out industrial restructuring and agricultural modernization remains a daunting task.

The fruitful exchanges and cooperation between China and international rice science circles over the past decades have proven that scientific and technological exchanges and cooperation among countries with different cultural backgrounds, economic models and development levels can benefit all the parties and the world as a whole, he said. China encourages its scientists and agro-technicians to cooperate with their foreign counterparts, so as to contribute to common development and prosperity of all countries.

The five-day congress is being co-sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the State Development Planning Commission, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the International Rice Research Institute. More than 1,200 representatives both from China and overseas attended the ceremony.

According to organizers of the meeting, the objective of the congress is to focus the attention of Asia and the international community on rice production and to urge the international community to go on attaching importance to impoverished rice farmers and consumers, promote the second green revolution of rice and further protect the ecological environment.

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