TECH Technology key to Tibet's agriculture


Technology key to Tibet's agriculture

By PALDEN NYIMA and DAQIONG in Lhasa | China Daily

08:14, May 29, 2021

Workers from the Tibet Academy of Agricultural and Animal Husbandry Sciences teach local farmers to grow highland barley in Panam county of Shigatse, Tibet autonomous region. (Photo: China Daily)

Innovation efforts to achieve scientific and technological breakthroughs in agriculture and animal husbandry have long been a focus in the Tibet autonomous region, as the work is key to boosting production and livelihoods, the region's department of science and technology said on Friday.

More than 60 percent of Tibet's total research and development investment has been in these two areas, fostering a large number of new technologies and equipment that is now widely applied in the region, Nordan, an official at the department, said at a news conference.

"The innovation and development of agricultural science and technology have strongly contributed to the effective supply of agricultural products and helped increase the incomes of rural residents," he said.

A total of more than 150 new varieties of crops have been selected and bred, and the varieties have been improved. For example, highland barley has been upgraded three times, official statistics showed.

As the main staple food and crop of the region, highland barley yields increased from about 80 kilograms per mu (0.06 hectares) before the region's peaceful liberation in 1951 to 380 kg now.

With animal husbandry, the region has bred the Panbo-semi-fine wool sheep and other new breeds of livestock and poultry, Nordan said. "By developing a number of unique new agricultural and livestock products, the region has made breakthroughs in core technologies."

A number of important achievements like highland barley molecular breeding and yak genomics have filled the gaps in related fields both at home and overseas, Nordan added.

Notably, in recent decades, thanks to Nyima Tashi-a leading scientist in highland barley breeding in the region-and his team, the region has finalized the selective breeding of more than 20 new barley varieties, with some having already been adopted by farmers.

A variety named Zangqing 2000, bred by Nyima Tashi and his team, was widely planted on cultivated land used to plant highland barley in Tibet, helping the region's crop output exceed 1 million metric tons in 2015 for the first time, according to a report by media platform The Paper.

The region's latest government report said Tibet has seen stable increases in annual grain output, which has exceeded 1 million metric tons for five consecutive years since 2015.

Dawa Tsering, a farmer in the region's Dagze county, said last year his fellow villagers were provided with fine barley varieties by the government to improve yields.

"Thanks to the new variety of highland barley, we saw an increment of 1.6 yuan on every kilogram," said Dawa Tsering, adding that they are full of confidence about this year's harvest.

"We are not only planting crops, but are also planting hope."

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