By Ariana Eunjung Cha
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, August 6, 2007; Page A01
ZENGCHENG, China — China’s vast network of food research centers and laboratories churns out mountains of papers on the latest farming techniques and technology. Their work on chemical use, pollution risks and genetically engineered crops is considered to be among the most advanced in the world. The Ministry of Agriculture keeps close tabs on the developments, constantly issuing new advice and new regulations based on the research.
The answer to why even the most well-intentioned and smartest policies of China’s leaders have been so difficult to implement in a country so vast lies in small farmers like Li. With 200 million farming households and 500,000 food-producing companies, information about new science often doesn’t trickle out to remote areas for months or years — if ever.