China to give a financial boost to its seed industry

seed  CIMMYTRice, wheat, corn, soybean and potato, and 15 varieties of cash crop have been listed as important for boosting production by 2020. (Image source: CIMMYT/Flickr)The Chinese government has revealed plans to boost its seed industry over the next decade to ensure grain stocks growth

The step has been taken by the government amid fears that limited arable land and water may become constraints for agricultural production.

According to a development plan by the State Council, rice, wheat, corn, soybean and potato, and 15 varieties of cash crop have been listed as important for boosting production by 2020.

Production bases for staple seeds will be established in north-western and south-western regions, as well as Hainan province, by 2015, the plan revealed.

China has recorded grain output of more than 589mn metric tonnes in 2012 after which the ministry of agriculture noted that it was the ninth consecutive year of increased grain harvests.

The use of top-quality seed varieties have contributed to bumper grain harvests in recent years, such as the planting of super hybrid rice. But insufficient innovation, weak market competitiveness among domestic seed companies and loopholes in seed management has hampered the seed industry’s development.

An agriculture ministry official Ma Shuping said, “It’s urgent for China to breed more new varieties of agricultural products to break the shackles of resource constraints for future grain growth.”

Statistics from the ministry has shown that the country now has 6,296 seed companies, down from 8,700 in 2011. Of the companies, 59 have registered capital of US$16mn.

Ma added, “It’s good to see that the number of small seed companies with substandard products has decreased gradually.

“The government will continue to give more support to big producers who have the capability to undertake scientific research in the future.”

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