Beijing, October 16:

China’s ‘Spark Programme’, which aims to popularise modern technology in rural areas, particularly farming, has been implemented in more than 90 per cent of the country’s counties, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) said.

“Since the programme started in 1986, the ministry has carried out more than 150,000 technological programmes nationwide, including nearly 20,000 state-level projects, which have played a key role in advancing technological skills of Chinese farmers,” said MoST minister Xu Guanhua. Xu said the plan aims to help Chinese farmers find better jobs in the agricultural sector by familiarising them with modern technology. A national census showed that 90 per cent of about 900 million Chinese farmers have never received high-school education. Only five per cent of the rural labour population has received formal and institution-based technological training.

Liu Yanhua, vice-minister of the MoST, said the ‘Spark Programme’ has improved the capability of young rural people by upgrading their technological skills, building a nationwide network.