The program for "benefiting farmers and revitalizing countryside by means of science popularization" is a project jointly set forth by the China Association for Science and Technology(CAST) and the Ministry of Finance during the eleventh Five-Year Plan period (2001-2005). The purpose of the program is to promote the implementation of "the Outline of Action Plan for Improving the Nation's Science Literacy", improve science literacy for rural people, and aid the building of a new socialist countryside. According to the program, four groups of outstanding units and individuals are evaluated, selected and rewarded on an annually basis so as to "reward the outstanding and setting examples for others". The four groups include associations of rural professional technologies, pilot bases for science popularization rural science popularization leaders, and science popularization work teams in regions inhabited by ethnic minorities, who have made substantial contribution and set good examples for neighboring farmers in local regions. The program aims to promote the enhancement of science literacy of more farmers , develop their practical skills, and help them adopt scientific and healthy style of work and life.
Since the launch of the program, an upsurge of CAST at all levels science popularization and learning practical skills has been brought about in rural areas thanks to the support of the government at all levels. Associations of rural professional technologies, pilot bases for rural science popularizations, science popularization work teams in ethnic minorities regions and rural science popularization leaders are representatives of the sustained rural science popularization work and activities. They have made important contributions to science popularization in rural areas. Science popularization work teams in regions inhabited by ethnic minorities have played perennial and active role in carrying out science popularization activities in remote ethnic minority areas. One of their achievements, for example, is the compilation and translation of science popularization publications into minority languages. Their efforts have made positive contributions to maintaining the unity and progress among all ethnic groups, and the building of a harmonious socialist society. Rural science popularization leaders are farmers with special farming skills and they work as volunteers to communicate their experience and skills to their folks so that all the villagers are benefited. Their selfless devotion reflects the spirit of a new type of farmers.
In 2006, the Ministry of Finance allocated RMB 50 million yuan fund-in-aid for the program. In 2007 the number was doubled, reaching RMB 100 million yuan.