Industry leaders urge more R&D to boost agricultural seed security

Barbie Espinol
Soybean seeds undergoing genetic modification experiments in a lab at Longping Biotechnology (Hainan) Co in Sanya, South China’s Hainan Province. Photo: Zhao Juecheng/GT

Soybean seeds undergoing genetic modification experiments in a lab at Longping Biotechnology (Hainan) Co in Sanya, South China’s Hainan Province. File Photograph: Zhao Juecheng/GT

Chinese agricultural scientists and marketplace leaders at a main forum on seeds in South China’s Hainan Province on Thursday known as for far more initiatives to raise research and enhancement (R&D) in crop seeds to make sure meals protection.

The 2022 China Seed Congress and the Nanfan Agricultural Silicon Valley Forum kicked off in Sanya, Hainan, bringing collectively extra than 2,000 experts, field personnel and company associates to examine the issues experiencing China’s seed business and methods amid world foodstuff value hikes.

The discussion board will be issue-oriented, concentrating on the defense and utilization of crop germplasm resources, seed industry technological know-how innovation, seed sector intellectual property defense and other matters. China’s seed breeding breakthrough is 1 of the focal points of the forum.

The conflict involving Russia and Ukraine, COVID-19 and severe temperature have designed the domestic field additional conscious of the disaster of seeds, Wang Feng, principal scientist at the Rice Investigation Institute of the Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, explained to the International Instances.

“Even if there are no designed international locations strangling Chinese seeds, we can continue to experience that the external environment is forcing us to acquire the rice bowl in our own arms,” explained Wang.

Wang pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia-Ukraine conflict and other components have produced world-wide logistics intermittent. The absence of timely access to global markets and intense climate situations in Europe and the US are impacting local foods manufacturing and have raised considerations about food items protection in a variety of countries.

“China imports soybeans and corn each individual year. To do away with food stability pitfalls, it is important to boost scientific and technological expense in China’s seed marketplace,” Wang stated, including that seed organizations and scientific investigation institutions should do effectively in R&D to make the restricted land extra productive.

“In a term, ‘good for farmers and good for consumers’ is the route of our seed choice,” Zhang Qin, Vice Chairman and Standard Supervisor of Anhui Quanyin Seed Marketplace Technology Co Ltd, explained to the World-wide Periods.

Zhang stated that 90 per cent of the seeds marketed by Quanyin came from the firm’s possess R&D, and it used 5 per cent of its yearly product sales income on R&D, about 80 to 100 million yuan ($11.9-14.8 million).

Facts from the business display that in 2021, Quanyin bought additional than 100 million kilograms of seeds for numerous crops, which can make 60 billion kilograms of grain, adequate to feed 100 million individuals.

A staffer from Yuan Lengthy Ping Significant-Tech Agriculture Co Ltd (Longping High-tech), a major domestic seed corporation, informed the Worldwide Times that while domestic seed businesses have elevated their R&D expenditure in new a long time, China’s countrywide seed market is even now tiny in dimension, reduced in focus and very low in R&D financial investment.

In 2020, the gross sales earnings of Longping Higher-tech was 3.3 billion yuan ($420 million), accounting for 5 percent of the domestic seed sector with R&D investment decision of 346 million yuan ($44 million). In the meantime, the profits of Bayer, Germen seed company, was 62.1 billion yuan ($7.9 billion), accounting for extra than 20 percent of the global seed market place. Bayer’s R&D financial investment in agricultural business attained 18.08 billion yuan ($2.3 billion), reported the staffer.

“China’s seed sector is wholly distinctive from international seed giants in terms of business scale and R&D financial investment,” the staffer mentioned.

As R&D is very important to the seed industry, Chinese seed providers, in addition to the domestic industry, have been actively increasing their R&D structure in abroad markets in the latest years.

For occasion, Longping Large-tech has created additional than 50 breeding stations for rice, corn, vegetables, millet and sunflower in China, Brazil, the US, Pakistan, the Philippines and other international locations, with a total space of 13,000 mu (866.7 hectares) of examination bases.

Jiang Sanqiao, deputy typical manager of Quanyin, explained to the Global Periods that the firm’s seeds are now exported to a lot more than 20 international locations and regions.

Because 2011, Quanyin has undertaken national agricultural technology cooperation projects in Angola, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and other countries, and cultivated and built additional than 100,000 mu (6,666.7 hectares) of rice and corn farms overseas, in accordance to Jiang.

“The pandemic has also elevated consciousness on foodstuff safety in countries in Southeast Asia and Africa,” Jiang mentioned, citing Bangladesh as an case in point, which has solved its individual meals dilemma soon after China’s substantial-yield hybrid rice was launched in new several years.

The same is genuine in the Philippines. Soon after COVID-19, the planting region of Chinese hybrid rice has progressively enhanced in the Philippines. “In the latest many years, our firm’s seed exports to the Philippines have been developing at an once-a-year charge of 50 per cent,” mentioned Jiang.

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