China Daily

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.

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