Seed security tops No 1 document
On Sunday, the release of the official document on agricultural affairs, also called the year’s “No 1 central document”, attracted widespread attention because, for the first time, seed security appeared as an independent chapter.
On Monday, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Tang Renjian said that compared with other countries, China has a major seed gap, and it is necessary to reverse that. Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Zhang Taolin said the aim should be to grow crops using Chinese seeds.
It is necessary to improve the quality of domestic seeds to meet agricultural development demands. Many might not realize it, but seed quality is of great importance to the country’s national security, food security, as well as economic and social security. It is urgent to solve this problem.
In 2019, the US set the largest corn harvest record at 2.58 metric ton per mu, or 0.06667 hectares; the same year China, according to information available, harvested 1.66 ton per mu. The reason behind China’s shortfall is the seed cultivation technology gap between the two countries.
The shortfall extends also to poultry. Before 2014, around 95 percent of ancestral breeders of whitefeather broiler chicken, accounting for half of China’s chicken production, were imported from the US. After bird flu broke out in the US in 2015, Chinese poultry farms had to turn to the UK and France for fresh supplies.
It is necessary for China to put an end to that reliance to develop its own agriculture independently. Unless China secures its seed bank, its enterprises can never become totally independent.
Solving that problem will require undertaking multiple measures such as building a national storage of seeds and related resources, providing more and firmer support to modern agricultural seed research programs and sharpening domestic technologies on cultivating seeds.
The No 1 document has shown the central leadership’s firm determination to protect China’s seed security. Chinese researchers, farmers and officials will work together for the national seed security, which is related to food security.