China Seed Industry News

This page features a compilation and selection of China seed industry news briefs, summaries and leads, 

with an emphasis on events that impact or affect provinces, regions, counties, cities and locales in the People’s Republic of China.

The news covers trends and events regarding seed regulation, testing, legislation, phytosanitary issues, intellectual property rights, biotechnology (genomics, gene-editing) plant breeding, agronomy and cropping, with original sources linked.

This page will be updated throughout the year, with most recent news listed first.


2024 News

Gene-Edited Wheat Approved in Policy Shift: May 8: China has approved the safety of gene-edited wheat for the first time, marking a cautious step toward the commercial growing of genetically modified food crops. This move comes as Beijing has accelerated approvals for GM corn and soybean seeds over the past year to enhance food security, despite slow uptake due to health and ecological concerns. Unlike genetic modification, which introduces foreign genes, gene editing alters existing genes and is considered less risky by some scientists. The approval of the disease-resistant wheat, primarily grown for food, is a significant milestone as China is the largest producer and consumer of wheat. Additionally, new rules for labeling genetically modified crops in food products are expected this year, further indicating Beijing's evolving stance on GM food crops. More details here


eed Congress Highlights Advances in Agricultural Sector: March 20: The 2024 China Seed Congress, held in Sanya, Hainan, from April 16 to 20 showcased the latest developments in China’s agricultural sector. The four-day event features over 40 companies, including China Seed Group and Longping High-tech, and presents innovations across various crop types at the Yazhou National Modern Agricultural Industrial Park, with around 2,322 crop varieties displayed. The congress also marked the opening of new agricultural research facilities and the signing of several strategic cooperation agreements, underscoring the industry’s focus on advancing agricultural technology and expanding international cooperation. More details here

Enhanced Agriculture through Advanced Technologies and Infrastructure: March 4: China is focused on agricultural modernization as part of its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), deploying smart technologies and improving infrastructure to increase efficiency and production. Over 66.67 million hectares of high-standard farmland have been developed, significantly enhancing grain production. The country has also upgraded rural infrastructure, with 4.6 million kilometers of roads and extensive data network coverage in villages. Advanced technologies, including the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System and plant protection drones, have been integrated into farming operations, boosting mechanization rates from 67.2% in 2017 to 73% in 2022. More details here

Transforming Saline Land into Fertile Ground: February 25: Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences have pioneered a method to convert saline-alkaline land into productive farmland. By burying crop stalks and covering the soil with plastic, they reduced soil salinity by 36% and increased crop yields by 30.5%. This innovation is part of China's broader effort to combat soil salinization, which affects about 100 million hectares nationwide. With food security as a paramount concern for its 1.4 billion population, China is exploring over 40 soil treatment technologies and introducing salt-tolerant crop varieties from abroad. More details here

Enhanced Protection of Seed Intellectual Property Rights:  February 22: China is reinforcing intellectual property rights protections for seeds, introducing stricter penalties for violations to support agricultural innovation and food security. The Intellectual Property Court is applying punitive damages in infringement cases, notably fining an operator 3 million yuan for violating rice variety IP rights. With the enforcement of the updated Seed Law, the court has handled 481 cases related to new plant varieties since 2019, predominantly ruling in favor of rights owners. This effort highlights China's commitment to advancing its agricultural sector through robust IP rights enforcement. More details here

Simplifying Gene Editing in Plant Research: February 14: Researchers in China have developed a groundbreaking method that simplifies gene editing in plants, potentially transforming agricultural biotechnology. A team from the Southern University of Science and Technology has discovered an "extremely simplified method for genetic transformation and gene editing," making it accessible even to non-experts. This innovation, which can reduce the gene-editing process from months to approximately two weeks, utilizes CRISPR/Cas technology for precise DNA modifications. The new "cut-dip-budding" (CDB) technique eliminates complex steps like tissue culture, demonstrating success across multiple plant species, including Taraxacum kok-saghyz, known for its natural rubber production. This approach could significantly advance crop yield improvements, disease resistance, and adaptation to adverse environments, marking a new era in gene editing's application in agriculture. More details here

China Aims for Record Grain Harvest in 2024: February 19: China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs plans to boost grain production to over 650 million tons in 2024, focusing on national food security. Assigning specific crop targets to provinces and maintaining a significant sowing area, the ministry supports the "No. 1 Central Document" goals for rural revitalization. This strategy includes enhancing soybean and oil crop yields and consolidating gains in poverty alleviation, backed by 2023's record grain output of 695.41 million tons. More details here

Record Grain Output in Jilin Province: January 24: Jilin province in Northeast China achieved a record grain production of 41.87 billion kilograms in 2023, overcoming challenges posed by regional floods, with an average yield per hectare of around 7.15 tonnes. More details here

GMO Crop Adoption Accelerating: January 18: China is significantly expanding its use of genetically modified (GMO) crops, approving more varieties for import and domestic production. These include six new types of genetically modified corn, two soybean varieties, and a cotton variety. The planting zones for these GMO crops have been expanded nationwide, indicating a major shift in China's agricultural policies. This move aims to enhance food security and reduce the country’s reliance on imports. The approval extends for five years from January 2024. More details here

Indigenous Seed Industry Boosted: January 13: China is focusing on developing its indigenous seed industry to reduce reliance on imports and secure food supply. The country's Seed Law, effective from March 2022, addresses critical dependence on foreign seed imports and insufficient innovative breeding technologies. This law aims to ensure germplasm resource independence and enhance intellectual property protection in the seed sector. With 70% of seed corn currently imported from the U.S., China faces a crucial challenge in ensuring self-sufficiency in essential crops such as corn, tomatoes, broccoli, and various forage grasses. More details here

Space Exposure and Gene Editing for Agricultural Innovation: January 10, 2024: China is developing its agricultural technology by selecting a new batch of seed potatoes from 10,800 salt-tolerant specimens sent into outer space aboard the Shenzhou-16 mission. This initiative is part of the country's efforts to integrate aerospace research and gene editing into crop research and development. The seeds, exposed to the unique environment of space, experienced a mutation rate three to four times higher than on Earth, potentially reducing the breeding time by half. The mission included 136 species of crops and microorganisms with the aim of inducing genetic variations for agricultural development. Of particular interest to researchers are genes for salt tolerance to allow cultivation of new potato varieties in saline-alkali soils. More details here


2023 News


2023 News


China Grants Licenses for GMO Seed Production in Landmark Move: December 28, 2023:

In a significant development, China has issued licenses to 26 domestic seed companies, including Beijing Dabeinong Technology and China National Seed, to produce, distribute, and sell genetically modified corn and soybean seeds in select provinces. This marks China's first batch of companies authorized for GMO seed production and operation. The move, cautiously embraced by Beijing, aims to reduce reliance on imports exceeding 100 million metric tons annually. Commercial planting of GMO varieties is expected to enhance yields, potentially impacting soybean and corn imports from the United States and Brazil. Stay tuned for in-depth coverage in Asian Seed Magazine for more insights into China's evolving stance on GMO technology. Source: Agropages

China Approves 26 Seed Companies for GMO Corn and Soybeans: December 28, 2023: China has granted licenses to 26 domestic seed companies, including Beijing Dabeinong Technology and China National Seed (now owned by Syngenta Group), to produce, distribute, and sell genetically modified corn and soybean seeds in specific provinces, marking a crucial step toward commercial planting of GMO grains. This is the first batch of companies to receive such licenses, as announced by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Despite cautious steps, Beijing has been gradually opening up to GMO technology, with over a dozen genetic changes approved since 2019. The move aims to reduce reliance on annual imports exceeding 100 million metric tons of soybeans and corn. Large-scale trials conducted this year showed "outstanding" results, indicating a potential shift in China's stance on GMOs. Source: Agropages

Beijing Dabeinong Receives Approval for GM Herbicide-Tolerant Soybeans in Brazil: November 30, 2023: Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co Ltd announced on November 22 that Brazil has officially approved the safety and planting of its genetically-modified herbicide-tolerant soybeans. The transformation event DBN9004 has successfully passed safety evaluations, securing the planting license. These genetically-modified soybeans demonstrate tolerance to both glyphosate and glufosinate-ammonium herbicides, addressing weed control challenges in South American soybean production. This marks Dabeinong's first soybean product approved for cultivation in Brazil, signaling a strategic expansion for the company in the South American market. Notably, the unit's genetically-modified insect-resistant soybean products obtained a planting license in Argentina in 2022. Source: Agropages

China to Send Hybrid Seeds to Pakistan: December 3: China is set to bolster Pakistan's agriculture sector by providing high-quality, disease-resistant hybrid seeds for vital crops such as cotton, canola, and wheat. This initiative is aimed at enhancing crop production, thereby supporting Pakistan's textile industry and its overall economy. More details here

Winter Farming Underway: 23 Nov: Across China, winter farming is bustling with diverse activities, including laying mulch film in Hebei, harvesting vegetables like celery and radishes in multiple provinces, and transporting oranges in Hunan. In Jiangxi, seedlings are being moved, while in Guizhou, mandarin oranges are collected. Other activities include carrot harvesting in Hebei, ginseng planting in Guizhou, and tea plantation work in Hubei. Source

China Reports Record Grain Yields Amid Environmental Challenges: 13 Nov: China has achieved a new high in grain production this year, despite facing floods and droughts in key agricultural regions. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs reported that 96.2% of this autumn's grains have been harvested, marking the fourth consecutive year of increased output. This success comes even as provinces like Henan, a major wheat producer, experienced historic rains and severe flooding. The country's grain production rose 0.5% year on year to 686.5 million metric tons in 2022. Efforts to boost planting acreage and improve productivity through technology have been key to this achievement. Additionally, China has increased its focus on domestic food production to reduce vulnerabilities in global supply chains amid geopolitical threats and extreme weather events. This includes expanding the planting area of autumn crops to 87.33 million hectares (215.7 million acres) and adopting innovative cultivation methods, like the symbiotic cultivation of soybeans and maize. Source

New Agricultural Heritage Sites: 11 Nov: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has recognized three new sites in China as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). These include Kuancheng Manchu Autonomous County in Hebei Province, known for its traditional chestnut eco-planting system; Tongling City in Anhui Province, famous for its ancient Chinese waxberry composite system; and Xianju County in Zhejiang Province, renowned for its white ginger plantation system. With these additions, China now has 22 sites listed as GIAHS, making it the largest single contributor to the FAO's list, which includes over 86 sites globally. Source

Making Moon Soil Fertile for Agriculture: 9 Nov: Scientists have developed a method to make lunar soil fertile for agriculture, a key step for sustainable living on the moon. By introducing bacteria to simulated moon soil, they enhanced plant growth by increasing soil acidity and phosphorus availability. This approach, tested with a tobacco-related plant, offers a practical solution for growing food in lunar greenhouses, reducing the need for costly transport of resources from Earth. This innovation paves the way for self-sustaining human habitats on the moon. Source

Pioneering 'Deforestation-Free' Soybean Deal: 8 Nov: China's COFCO International and Modern Farming Group have signed a significant $30 million deal to import soybeans from sustainable, deforestation-free zones in Brazil. This agreement, the first of its kind in China with a deforestation- and conversion-free clause, aims to reduce deforestation linked to global soybean trade. The Tropical Forest Alliance, under the World Economic Forum, supports this initiative as a crucial step towards environmentally responsible commodity sourcing. Source

Village Draws Tourists with Sun-Dried Harvest: 26 Oct: In Huangling village, located in Wuyuan county of east China's Jiangxi Province, villagers are sun-drying various agricultural products in flat bamboo baskets. This practice has transformed the village into a vibrant "scroll painting" of a bumper harvest, attracting a large number of tourists. The village, which dates back over 580 years, is known for its scenic beauty and ancient Hui-style buildings. Recently, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) included Huangling village on its "Best Tourism Villages" list for 2023. Source

China Approves GM Corn and Soybeans to Boost Food Security: 19 Oct: China has given the green light to the commercial use of genetically modified (GM) corn and soybeans, marking a significant shift in its approach to food security. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has approved 37 GM corn varieties and 14 GM soybean varieties for commercial planting. The move aims to improve self-sufficiency for China's large population and reduce its food trade deficit. The approved GM strains are designed for higher yields and stronger resistance to herbicides or insects. However, the public's acceptance of GM food remains uncertain, and the impact on import demand is expected to be minimal initially. Source




China Sets New World Record in Peanut Yield: 26 Sep: A research field in Shandong province has set a new world record for peanut yield. The yield reached 12,980 kg per hectare, which is 3.4 times the national average. This breakthrough is attributed to a "single-seed precision sowing" method, which involves planting one peanut seed per hole instead of the traditional two. The new method could potentially increase China's total peanut production to 60 million tonnes if applied nationwide, according to the researchers. Source

China Introduces National Seed Certification: 9 Sep: China is developing a national certification system for quality crop seeds to boost its seed production sector's global competitiveness. The new system aims to improve seed quality, enhance production efficiency, and increase crop output. Companies can apply for certification through a body approved by the State Administration for Market Regulation. Certified businesses will receive preferential treatment in government-funded research projects and will be exempt from certain regular checks. Source

Extreme Weather Threatens Crop Harvests and Water Supplies

Heavy rainfall in Heilongjiang, China's leading region for soybeans and corn production, could delay grain ripening and harvesting, warns the China Meteorological Administration. The region is expected to receive 20% to 50% more precipitation than usual in September, following flooding in August caused by two typhoons. Meanwhile, northwestern China's Xinjiang region, which accounts for about 20% of the world's cotton, is also expecting up to 50% more rain than usual, potentially affecting cotton quality and harvest timing. Despite some rain relief, moderate to severe droughts persist in western China, threatening water supplies and autumn crop growth. Source

Chinese economy's impact on Canadian agricultural exports downplayed: August 25: Despite the importance of the Chinese market for Canadian agricultural products, the country's economic downturn isn't causing significant concern among exporters, according to an economist. While China stands as Canada's second-largest agricultural market after the United States, recent reports of China's economic slowdown haven't triggered major alarm. Stuart Bergman, Chief Economist at Export Development Canada, noted that although China's growth rate is currently slower than usual, Canadian exports have shown resilience. The country encountered disruptions in canola shipments between 2019 and 2022 due to a political dispute, but steady growth has been the trend. Source.

China expands GM crop trial to boost food security: August 24: China is expanding its trial of genetically modified (GM) corn and soybeans to cover 20 counties across five provinces, namely Hebei, Jilin, Sichuan, Yunnan, and Inner Mongolia. This move underscores Beijing's growing emphasis on ensuring food security. The trial, which commenced with soybean field testing in 2021 before extending to farms in Inner Mongolia and Yunnan, reflects China's commitment to enhancing agricultural productivity. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has highlighted the pivotal role of GM technology in increasing crop yields, mitigating losses from pests and diseases, reducing reliance on chemical pesticides, and cutting labor costs. Source.

Yangshao agricultural evolution unveiled: August 22: Led by Prof. Yang Yuzhang, a research team from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) has examined the human subsistence strategy evolution and agricultural structure during the Yangshao culture period (around 6400-5300 cal. BP) at the Changge Shigu prehistoric site in the Central Plains region. Published in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, the study provides insights into the region's agricultural history and sheds light on its economic structure during that time. Source

Northeastern China bracing for heavy rain, threatening crops: August 20: China’s northeastern grain basket is preparing for more heavy rain, adding to the challenges faced by farmers who have already dealt with flooding and crop damage from earlier wild weather this month. The National Meteorological Center predicts heavy rains on Monday and Tuesday, with a high risk of flooding in parts of Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces. This poses a threat to corn and soybean fields, potentially impacting crop growth, according to the weather agency. These provinces are vital to China’s agriculture, accounting for around 45% of the national corn harvest and 60% of the country’s soybeans. The region has been hit by torrential rains, including the aftermath of Typhoon Khanun. Some fields are still draining, and further rain could worsen the situation. Source.

Xi emphasizes food production, offers subsidized land to farmers: August 20: Chinese leader Xi Jinping has renewed his focus on food production through a novel government policy. This policy involves providing subsidized land to farmers, specifically reclaimed from manufacturing sites. These sites are intended to benefit farmers who have relocated to urban centers in pursuit of better opportunities. The heightened tensions between China and the U.S., coupled with disruptions in the global supply chain due to the pandemic, compelled Beijing to recognize its reliance on American soy and corn. Source.

Canadian Flax Exports to China Resume: July 29: After a two-year hiatus, Canadian flax is once again moving to China. Nine thousand tonnes of flax were exported from the Port of Vancouver during week 50 of the 2022-23 marketing campaign. The price drop of flax on the farm in Western Canada to $13.50 to $14 per bushel, from last year's highs of over $30, has made it more competitive in the global market. Previously, high prices led to Canada losing market share to the Black Sea region in China, resulting in reduced exports and acres planted. Agriculture Canada forecasts 325,000 tonnes of production, while trade suggests an additional 200,000 tonnes of carry-in from the previous crop. Despite a smaller crop, the total supply for the upcoming 2023-24 marketing campaign is expected to be normal. Source.

Chinese Scientists Identify Genes for High-Yield Rice: July 27: Chinese crop scientists have made a significant breakthrough in rice breeding by identifying two genes that hindered crossbreeding in two rice family relatives. The discovery of these genes on the No 12 chromosome of rice paves the way for creating next-generation, super-high-yield rice crops, reducing China's dependence on food imports. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Nanjing Agricultural University found that the genes affect the fertility of hybrid rice pollen by influencing the mitochondria in the cell. The findings are expected to raise rice output by 15% compared to existing high-yield species, and next-generation hybrid rice could be widely promoted within a decade. This breakthrough in crop breeding is seen as a milestone in advancing super hybrid rice. Source


Russia Sends First Pea Shipment to China by Boat: July 26: China has cleared the first ocean vessel carrying 55,000 tonnes of Russian peas, marking a significant milestone in the new trade route. Prior to this, peas were transported to China via rail and truck from Russia's Siberian regions. The shipment comes after China and Russia signed a phytosanitary agreement, enabling the importation of Russian peas for consumption or processing, but not for seed purposes. This development poses a serious threat to Canada, which previously held the top pea market in China. Russian farmers are now seeking certification to send their peas to China, where they expect strong demand for both the food and feed markets. Analysts forecast 1.2 million tonnes of Russian pea exports to China in 2023-24, surpassing Canada's one million tonnes. Source:


Heavy Rain Causes Flooding and Casualties in Eastern China: July 23

Five people died and two were missing in a village near Hangzhou city, eastern China, after heavy rain caused a river bank to burst, flooding houses and sweeping away people and belongings. The storms have become more intense and unpredictable in recent years, with late July seeing heavy rain in China. Torrential rain also affected the northeast, damaging dozens of houses and crops, and leading to the evacuation of around 5,600 people in Liaoning province. Parts of the region, known as China's breadbasket, had suffered from drought earlier, but recent rain has improved the situation. However, there are still risks to local crops, particularly corn and soybeans, due to the El Nino weather pattern expected to bring more extreme weather. Source

China Sends Seeds and Plants into Space for Genetic Mutation: July 21: The China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) has announced a space seed project involving 136 types of space breeding experimental materials from 53 institutions. These materials include crops, forest plants, grasses, flowers, medicinal plants, and microorganisms. Space breeding exposes seeds to cosmic radiation and microgravity during spaceflight, causing genetic mutations. This innovative approach aims to develop crop varieties that can withstand extreme growing conditions, as seeds undergo DNA changes in low-gravity environments. China has been a leader in space breeding since its first experiment in 1987, sending seeds of hundreds of plant species into space on various missions. The recent launch of the Shenzhou-16 spacecraft, carrying astronauts to the Tiangong space station, will contribute to China's ambitious space exploration program. This comes amid a growing rivalry between China and the US in space exploration, reflecting a competition for leadership and influence in various fields.



Chinese Authorities Issue Weather Warnings Amid Heatwaves and Flood Threats: July 9

Chinese authorities have issued weather warnings due to prolonged heatwaves and the risk of severe floods, posing threats to crops and power grids. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) warn of potential damage to rice production and advise ensuring sufficient water in fields to prevent premature ripening in the southern regions. Temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) are expected in much of southern China, with some areas in Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, and Fujian provinces reaching 40 degrees Celsius. The CMA has also issued an amber heat alert for several provinces, advising caution and reduced outdoor activities. The heatwave has persisted since June, and the Ministry of Water Resources is on alert for flooding in multiple provincial areas. Source.



China develops 1,050 mutant plant varieties for food security: May 25: China has officially registered 1,050 mutant plant varieties across 46 species, utilizing nuclear technology to address food security and climate change. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recognized China's achievements in plant mutagenesis breeding during a visit to the Institute of Crop Science in Beijing.

Mutant crops are crucial for ensuring food security in China, which has a population of over 1.4 billion. By inducing genetic variations through radiation or chemicals, China has increased grain production by over 1.1 billion kilograms annually. Among the 1,050 varieties, over 300 are created through space-induced seedings, which involves exposing seeds and strains to cosmic radiation and microgravity during space missions to induce genetic mutations.

China initiated its first space breeding experiment in 1987 by sending packets of seeds on a satellite and returning them to Earth after cosmic radiation exposure. Since then, the country has sent seeds from numerous plant species on retrievable satellites and Shenzhou spaceships. China leads in mutagenesis-based plant breeding and collaborates with 16 countries through technology sharing and training for regional food security. Source

China cancels large orders of US corn: May 24: China has canceled over 800,000 tonnes of U.S. corn orders as buyers wait for cheaper options later in the year. This is because China, the top wheat producer, has seen a bumper crop and increased wheat imports from Australia. As a result, wheat prices have dropped by 15% in the last two months, making it a more affordable choice than corn. Chinese corn futures have also fallen by 11% due to mounting grain stocks. Source

Extreme rainfall threatens rice yields and food security: May 14: Extreme rainfall in China has caused an 8% decline in rice yields over the past two decades, warns a recent study. The impact of extreme rainfall on rice yields is comparable to extreme heat. By the end of the century, China could experience a further 7.6% reduction in rice yields due to extreme rainfall, exacerbating the effects of climate change. Future extreme events pose an increasing threat to agricultural productivity. Understanding the consequences of extreme weather events on food security is crucial as the world grapples with climate change. Source

Rapeseed breeding breakthrough: April 26: Chinese scientists have developed a new variety of rapeseed that could increase vegetable oil production in China, reducing the country's dependence on imported oils. The new breed has been designed to address constraints of winter sowing, such as a shorter growth cycle, increased cold tolerance and earlier fertility. It is being tested in eastern China's Jiangxi province and could fill unused fields during winter months, creating the potential for rapeseed expansion and production. The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) said the new variety could increase China's self-sufficiency in vegetable oil by about 12 percentage points, with the potential to produce an additional 11.25 million tonnes of rapeseed per year. Source

Promoting seed industry development through legal means: April 22: Zhao Leji, the chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, has called for further consolidation of the legal basis for the seed industry's vitalization. At the first plenary meeting of inspection teams for enforcement of the Seed Law, Zhao stressed the importance of scrutinizing issues facing law enforcement and high-quality development of the seed industry. He also emphasized the need to improve the protection and utilization of seed resources, enhance original innovation, and intensify supervision and management of seed quality, while safeguarding China's seed and food security. Source.

Farmers urged to adopt innovative methods for domestic food security: April 19: Authorities in China are encouraging farmers to adopt high-yield crop varieties and better farming techniques to increase agricultural output and narrow the gap between experimental and actual yields. Survey data revealed that the output of China's soybean and corn varieties is close to or surpassing those of the US, however, the actual yield of homegrown species is only 60 to 70% of that in the US, or 70% of output in laboratory environments. Yang Haisheng, deputy director of China's planting administration bureau, said food supply in China will remain tight, and therefore, promotion of high-yield species must be fast-tracked to focus on enhancing the yield of a given plot of land. Source

Leading agricultural scientists in China raise concerns about food security: April 2: At recent China Seed Congress and Nanfan Agricultural Silicon Valley Forum, officials, top experts and industry players acknowledged that China lags behind the US and other advanced economies in research and development for crop seeds, but they also pointed to strides made in recent years. Wu Zhaohui, a vice minister of science and technology, highlighted the pressure and risks related to China's food security due to uncertainties in global agricultural production and trade, limited water and land resources, and changing technologies. To boost domestic output and increase self-reliance, the scientists called for robust research and development in crop seeds, with a focus on high-yield, high-quality seeds, which are the "microchips of the agricultural sector". China has introduced policies to boost R&D in crop seeds in recent years, with top policy documents emphasizing the development of the seed industry. The Yazhou Bay Seed Laboratory in Sanya, which contributes to over 70% of China's new agricultural seeds, has attracted top research institutions and companies from across the nation to study crop seeds. At the forum in Sanya, firms highlighted their progress in finding high-quality seeds and catching up with global industry leaders. Source.

Ag ministry weighs in on Improved seeds contributions April 18: China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MOA) has stated that the contribution of improved seeds to China's grain yield growth has reached 45 percent, with room for further improvement. The MOA official announced that China's corn output per mu has increased by 27 percent in the last ten years, and the output of wheat per mu has been lifted from 300 to 387.3 kilograms. The experimental soybean output per mu in 2021 ranged from 149 to 236 kilograms, and the experimental corn output per mu ranged from 565 to 1,043 kilograms, approaching and even surpassing that in the US. However, the MOA noted that the contribution rate of improved seeds to China's agricultural output growth is still below the 60 percent level in developed countries, including the US and European countries. The official added that China's seed breeding has significant potential for improvement with the implementation of more biotechnologies in agriculture. The qualification rate of seeds in ongoing 2023 spring plowing stood at 98 percent, and the proportion of high-quality rice seeds surpassed 60 percent in 2022. Source.

Sanya shines as Chinese seed capital: April 8: The 2023 China Seed Congress was held in Sanya City, southern Hainan Province, where academics and experts gathered to discuss key issues in the seed industry. The Congress included various sub-forums where researchers presented their latest research results, covering a wide range of crops and biotechnology. The field exhibition site showcased nearly 1,900 high-quality new varieties. The Nanfan Silicon Valley, where the Congress was held, has modernized field management and established laboratories to gather and breed domestic and foreign germplasm resources. The valley has been a good platform for China's agricultural development and food security. The Hainan province is supporting the seed breeding industry with policies for industrial upgrading and promoting the commercialization of sci-tech achievements, and it is going all out to turn itself into a Nanfan Silicon Valley to serve the whole of China. Source, and see also APSA news.

GE alfalfa, sugarcane among ‘tranche’ of new approvals in 2023: The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs or MARA announced the issuance of new and renewed biosafety certificates for a number of genetically engineered (GE) events, including eight new and two renewed certificates for GE crops approved for import as processing materials and six new and 32 renewed certificates for domestic GE crop cultivation and production.

The new certificates for import processing include first-time approvals for GE alfalfa and sugarcane, as well as other events that began the application process over a decade ago. The validity period for new and renewed biosafety certificates is five years. The announcement also included renewals for 32 biosafety certificates for domestic cultivation/production and six new approvals for cultivation/production.

New  approvals include the first GE varieties of sugarcane and alfalfa approved for import in China, and several of the approvals have been in the application process for over a decade. Among the newly approved biosafety certificates include three new GE cotton events developed by BASF, Bayer, and Corteva, two renewed GE cotton events developed by BASF, one new GE rapeseed event developed by Corteva, two new GE sugarcane events developed by Brazil Sugarcane Technology enter, and two new GE alfalfa events developed by Bayer.

Among those to receive new bio-safety certification is a GE maize developed by Yuan Longping High-tech Agriculture. This maize seed showcases remarkable resistance to primary pests and demonstrates a high tolerance for herbicides, including the ability to withstand four times the typical amount of glyphosate.

The company's GE soybean seed was also granted a new bio-safety certification. The seed boasts enhanced resistance to insect pests and is the first pest-resistant variety created by a Chinese company to receive bio-safety accreditation.

In a long-awaited move, the Chinese government finally granted approval for Corteva's Optimum GLY canola trait for both food and feed imports. Initially developed by DuPont Pioneer, the trait was submitted for approval back in July 2012. The trait offers tolerance for a wider application window and a higher rate of glyphosate in canola, and had already received approval from the European Union and Canada.

Another decade-long wait finally came to an end with the approval of GE alfalfa imports for the first time. Among those approved were two glyphosate-resistant types of alfalfa, which had been submitted for approval over ten years ago. The announcement was met with enthusiasm by the U.S. government and alfalfa growers across the United States.

Furthermore, China has also cleared two GM sugar cane traits developed in Brazil, as well as a herbicide-resistant cotton.

Broccoli seed extract regulations drafted: The Food and Drug Administration, under the Ministry of Health and Welfare of the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen And Matsu has informed the its trading partners via the World Trade Organization’s Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Notification system (G/TBT/N/TPKM/516) about a draft for the “Use Restrictions and Labeling Requirements of Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) Seed Extract as a Food Ingredient”. Dated February 17, the draft regulation specifies the use restrictions and labeling requirements for broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) seed extract for food purposes. It specifies manufacturing process for broccoli seed extract to include as steps “hot water extraction, filtration to obtain the liquid extract, decolorization with  activated charcoal, centrifugation, filtration, concentration and spray drying etc.” and further proposes to regulate said extract for use as a food ingredient, to “only be used for food products intended for adult population, and the daily intake shall not exceed 115 mg.” Proposed labelling requirements mandate that “food products containing the broccoli seed extract shall bear the following warning statements: People under eighteen years old, pregnant women, lactating women and those with thyroid-associated diseases shall avoid consuming. People using anticoagulants and cancer patients shall only consume the product under medical supervision.”



GM maize planting plans shy of industry expectations: February 16: According to a report by Reuters, citing two unnamed industry sources, China this year is expected to plant less than 1% of its maize acreage with genetically modified (GM) varieties. The agriculture ministry has reportedly designated around 4 million mu (267,000 hectares or 660,000 acres) to be planted with GM corn, with several varieties being planted in certain counties of Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Hebei and Yunnan provinces. However, this is a slower rollout than expected by concerned seed enterprises. China allows the importation of GMO soybeans and corn for animal feed and the planting of GMO cotton. Last year, China planted about 43 million hectares of corn, yielding a crop of 277 million tonnes. However, in China's northeast breadbasket, illegal GM corn makes up about 70% of the acreage, according to a state media report in 2021. GM corn technology approved as safe by Beijing includes that of Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co Ltd, Syngenta Group, and Yuan Longping High-tech Agriculture Co Ltd. Foreign companies are not allowed to sell GMO seed in China. Source

Boosting maize soybean, edible oil output: February 15: State media has announced plans for China to increase efforts to boost output of soybeans and edible oils. As the world’s leading soybean importer, China is implementing policies aiming to reduce its reliance on imports of the staple oilseed, as reflected in the State Council’s latest annual rural policy blueprint, known as the “No. 1 document”, which reiterated a goal to boost grain production capacity by 50 million tonnes, or to 700 million tonnes. It plans to do so by bolstering maize yields, increasing support for wheat amd rapeseed farmers, in addition to certain oilseed crops such as camelia. Furthermore, it will speed up the pace of commercialization of biotech corn and soybeans Source

GE alfalfa, sugarcane among ‘tranche’ of new approvals in 2023: January 13: In January 2023, MARA announced the issuance of new and renewed biosafety certificates for genetically engineered (GE) events, including eight new and two renewed certificates for GE crops approved for import as processing materials and six new and 32 renewed certificates for domestic GE crop cultivation and production. The new certificates for import processing include first-time approvals for GE alfalfa and sugarcane, as well as other events that began the application process over a decade ago. The validity period for new and renewed biosafety certificates is five years. The announcement also included renewals for 32 biosafety certificates for domestic cultivation/production and six new approvals for cultivation/production. Notably, this tranche of new approvals includes the first GE varieties of sugarcane and alfalfa approved for import in China, and several of the approvals have been in the application process for over a decade. Among the newly approved biosafety certificates include three new GE cotton events developed by BASF, Bayer, and Corteva, two renewed GE cotton events developed by BASF, one new GE rapeseed event developed by Corteva, two new GE sugarcane events developed by Brazil Sugarcane Technology Center, and two new GE alfalfa events developed by Bayer.  Full summary about approvals, including unofficial translation of list of the 10 new and renewed biosafety certificates issued to biotech crops approved for import as processing materials and the list of 38 new and renewed biosafety certificates for domestic cultivation and production via USDA FAS.  See also two lists (in Chinese) available on MARA webpage for agricultural biotechnology:  MARA list of approved import certificates here, and MARA list of new and renewed cultivation/production certificates here. See also, USDA FAS 2022 China: Agricultural Biotechnology Annual Report here. Asian Seed will also elaborate on some of the newly approved events.

2022 News


2023 News

Q3 news

‘Hottest summer on record’ droughts spell concern for ag sector: August 24: Food production and thus security is threatened by what has been described by media as ‘the hottest summer on record’. This and a drought prompted four government departments to issue an urgent joint emergency notice that warned the coming autumn harvest was under “severe threat” and thus for authorities to begin employing water conservation measures, including staggered irrigation, diversion of new water sources, and cloud seeding. Source.

Nanfan shines as new Chinese ‘seed capital: August 3: The 2022 China Seed Congress and Nanfan Agricultural Silicon Valley Forum was held from July 28 to 31 in the city of Sanya, Hainan Province. Co-hosted by the MARA and nine other organizations, the Congress’s main theme and focus was about the revitalization of the Chinese seed industry, and the development of Nanfan (the name Chinese agricultural scientists use to refer to Hainan province, which literally means ‘southern breeding base’) as the  ‘Agricultural Silicon Valley’ of China.

In addition to the Congress’s main forum, there were also 13 subforums, which facilitated discussions and updates on everything from germplasm utilization, IP rights, industry innovation and R&D breakthroughs to supportive measures for companies and technical capacity building, regulations and marketing activities.

Attending the Congress were more than 2,000 delegates, including officials, business executives and scholars. Representing APSA were more than a dozen entities, including

Shenzhen Seed Chamber of Commerce, hefei Fengle Seed Co., Ltd, Wuhan Qingfa-hesheng Seed Co.,Ltd, China National Seed Trade Association, Syngenta Group China,  Liaoning Dongya Agricultural Development Co., Ltd, Wenzhou Shenlu Seed Co.,Ltd.,  Wuhan Comega Seed Co., Ltd, Sakata Seed (Suzhou) Co. Ltd., Jiyuan City Luyin Seed Co.,Ltd., Wuhan Yafei Seed Co., Ltd. and Huasheng Seed Group Co., Ltd.,

One of the highlights of the event was the signing of a framework agreement between the China Seed Association and Hainan Province,, which established Sanya as the permanent venue for the Seed Congress and Nanfan Agricultural Silicon Valley Forum. There was also an exhibition which spanned a total of 5,500 square meters, featuring the products, services, new plant varieties, technologies and achievements of about 50 major seed companies. Source.

Ag scientists, industry leaders call for R&D boost to ensure food security: July 29: Agriculture scientists and seed industry representatives participating in the China Seed Congress 2022’s main forum called for boosting efforts in research and development of crop seeds to address and mitigate food security concerns related to global food inflation, which has been linked to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the ongoing Covid-19 situation as well as extreme weather events which have had a notable impact on seed supply. The takeaway message of the forum was the need to ensure IP protection in sustainable utilization of crop germplasm resources, fostering innovation and the exchange and transfer of related breeding and production technologies. Source

APSA reinforces importance of China to regional seed industry: July 28: Another important forum held during this year’s Congress was a meeting amongst China’s APSA (Asia and Pacific Seed Alliance). Attended by representatives from around 40 seed companies, including current and past APSA executive committee members. The objective of the meeting was to review the association’s key priorities and strategic plan, and raise awareness of the numerous benefits of APSA membership, as well as to collect feedback and suggestions on how to improve services and thus encourage and enhance participation and engagement amongst China members. 

Heatwave, floods and typhoon devastate South China ag: July 23. Xinjiang province has been on alert for flash floods and mudslides reportedly a threat from increased glacial melt linked to heat waves, which also posed a threat to the cotton crop. Xinjiang accounts for production of about 20% of the world's cotton, Source. The alert follows devastating floods in June. In Yinlin, some 80 mu (5.3 hectares) of farmland was affected, and insurance claims for agricultural losses in large swathes of Guangdong, reached 328 million yuan (about $49 million) as of June 23, according to the provincial department of agriculture and rural affairs. Moreover, the situation was exasperated by Typhoon Chaba, which damaged or destroyed some, 592,000 mu (39,427.2 hectares) of rice fields. Source. .

Ningbo procurement of early-maturing paddy breeder seeds: July 20: Ningbo Huinong Technology Co., Ltd. ้ recently procured more than 30 tons of early-maturing paddy seeds as part of its activities to ensure supply throughout the region. This year, the company is cultivating the breeder seeds on 600 mu, and plans to procure 200 tons of the paddy seeds, an increase of 30 tons over last year. Source here.

Seed research center to help revitalize Pucheng breeding: July 20: A new Seed Research Center was recently inaugurated by Pucheng Muxiyuan Nutritional Food Co., Ltd. in Pucheng County. The center, which will support efforts to revitalize seed sector in the county, includes facilities to identify and evaluate germplasm resources, as well as plant breeding technology and equipment. Source here.

Typical seed sector infringement in Chongqing: July 20: The Chongqing Agricultural Comprehensive Administrative Law Enforcement Corps recently published details about typical cases seed and plant variety rights infringement,  including cases of counterfeit hybrid corn seeds, sales, labeling, phytosanitary and other violations of China’s seed law. . Accordingly, concerned authorities have investigated some 20 cases, concerning the confiscation of 331.5 kilograms of seeds and penalties totaling 527,500 yuan. Source.

Obsessed’ rice researcher honored: July 19: He Zuhua is an agricultural scientist who was among 10 individuals to be awarded "most beautiful scientific and technological workers" in Shanghai. Specifically he was recognized for his dedication to rice seed research in China, especially in addressing rice blast which is blamed for untold losses of the staple crop every year.  Working from the Songjiang Experimental Farm in suburban Songjiang District, the scientist has been described by Chinese media as obsessed with his work in pathology, and thus the food security of China. Source.

Guangxi rice, corn seed inspections pass with flying colors: July 18: From early June to mid-July 2022, 21 inspectors from the from the Guangxi Crop Seed Quality Supervision and Inspection Station in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Seed Management Station and the seed management stations of various cities in the region carried out inspections as part of the 2022 spring seed market in Ningming and Shanglin counties respectively. Sampling for purity and authenticity in rice and maize seeds was the focus of the inspections, which reported a 99.5% pass rate. Source.

Space mutated peanut and Konjac seeds planted. According to a July 14 report, about 100 peanut seeds, which had traveled in space for six  months on the Shenzhou 13 manned spacecraft, were officially planted  in a field in Xiaba Village, Liucheng Town, Dongyuan County. It is reported that in September 2021, seeds of the "Huodou" variety were selected from Daxiang Village, Jiantou Town, Dongyuan County and after 183 days in space were handed over for planting in June this year. Source. In related news reported on July 12: astronauts on the Shenzhou 13 returned a batch of konjac seeds selected by Fuyuan County, Qujing, Yunnan. The batch of seeds was sent back to Fuyuan County for sowing and breeding by scientific researchers. Source.

Myanmar added as TYLCV hot spot: The Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on July 4 notified the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the WPO (G/SPS/N/TPKM/588) of revisions to its "Quarantine Requirements for the Importation of Plants or Plant Products", specifically concerning Tomato yellow leaf curl virus, and Pepper chat fruit viroid in capsicum and solanum seeds.. Namely, Myanmar was added to the list of “infected areas” re. subparagraphs 43 and 45, Paragraph 1, Part B. The list already includes Thailand,  Vietnam, Netherlands and Canada. See notification here.

MARA promotes GM soy and maize trials: July 20: Zeng Yande, chief agronomist and director of the Development Planning Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has announced that China's pilot projects for the industrial application of transgenic technology are advancing in an orderly manner. In June this year, the National Crop Variety Approval Committee initiated GM-soy and corn through the publication of "National Standard for the Approval of Genetically Modified Soybean Varieties, and "National Standard for the Approval of Genetically Modified Corn Varieties" notices, which has been framed as key step in the industrialization of GM soybeans and GM corn in China. Source

Q2 news

Seed business excels as govt subsidizes grain farmers: May 29: The central government has reportedly allocated a 10 billion yuan fund to subdize grain farmers in the face of surging agricultural commodity prices. A number of listed seed companies have reported strong first-quarter profit reports, including Nongfa Seed, which reported a net profit of 18.99 million yuan, representing a 45-fold increase year-on-year. Particularly, the cost of soybean seeds was reported to rise, with farmers in Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Henan and other places reporting rises in price for various various grain crop seeds, including soybeans, corn, and wheat. On May 19, the State Administration of Grain and Reserves stated that the state continued to implement the minimum purchase price policy for wheat and rice in some major producing areas. Source here.

Addressing seed industry bottlenecks in Hainan: May 30: The Yazhou Bay Seed Laboratory, which is tasked with implementing national seed industry development strategies and advancing biological breeding technology, is carrying out a number of initiatives to address seed industry bottlenecks. These include the launch of 10 public and open scientific research platforms, including the Precision Design Breeding Center and the Nanfan Crop Phenotyping Research Facility. According to reports, 76 scientific research projects have been carried out, and 376 national researchers have been gathered to carry out scientific research activities in Hainan, including projects focusing on increasing hybrid rice yields, developing fall armyworm resistance, and herbicide tolerant maize. Source.

Heilongjiang cold storage expansion complete: May 29:  A reconstruction and expansion project benefiting China’s only cold region crop germplasm resource bank – the Heilongjiang cold region crop germplasm resource bank – has been completed. Germplasm resources storage capacity has increased from 80,000 to 200,000 samples. The reconstruction and expansion project commenced in July 2020 and has included the expansion of medium-term bank from three to seven, and addition of short term storage, likewise. Currently, more than 50,000 germplasm resources of wild soybean, corn, rice and other crops are preserved there. Among them, more than 2,000 wild soybean resources, a national second-level key protected wild plant unique to Heilongjiang, are preserved in the resource bank, accounting for 25% of the national reserves of protected resources. Source here.

Shaanxi spring sowing update: May 27: According to the Shaanxi Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, as of May 27, 18.23 million mu of grain crops had been sown in the province this spring, or 91.61% of the target. Among this, 9.75 million mu was sown with corn, 1.85 million mu with soybean and 4.82 million mu with  potato.This year, 25.65 million mu of crops are planned to be sown in Shaanxi – 19.9 million mu with spring sown grain crops. Source here.

Sichuan farmer compensated for failed corn seeds: May 26: Following a farmer complaint investigation and mediation led by the Consumer Rights Protection Committee of Ebian Yi Autonomous County, Leshan City, Sichuan Province, a villager in Songlinpo Village has been compensated for the failure of corn seeds he recently sowed on 5 acres of land. After receiving the complaint, the staff of Ebian County Consumer Committee and Ebian County Market Supervision Bureau conducted a swift investigation and convened mediation between the farmer and seed supplier, who was ordered to return 150 yuan for the purchase of seeds, as well as provide 500 yuan in punitive compensation; in addition to 1,500 yuan in compensation for sowing labor losses, RMB 1,500 for multi-planting labor, RMB 350 for transportation and fertilizers, and a one-time compensation of RMB 4,000 for the farmer, who immediately bought and planted new seeds with success. Report here.

Space seeds to be bred in Inner Mongolia: May 24: The Shenzhou 13 spacecraft successfully has returned to earth with astronauts And about 12,000 seeds that have mutated in the extreme atmosphere of space orbit. Seeds of wild barley, purple fescue and other grass species are being examined, selected and will be cultivated as part of breeding trials in Inner Mongolia,  Source

Revitalizing seed industry in wake of coronavirus, geopolitical tensions: April 27: China has expanding the number of accredited seed breeders as part of efforts to address food supply bottleneck. South China Morning Post reports that “For the first time since 2013, China has enlarged its list of state-sponsored seed breeding and production bases, adding 116 to the existing 100 hubs already operating,” citing the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. These national bases are hoped to supply more than 80 per cent of the country’s seed requirement through to 2025, which would be up from more than 70 per cent in the 2016-20 period. Following authorities issuing biosafety certificates for domestically grown GM soybean crops and two corn crops in late 2019, Beijing has accelerated approval for more varieties. In January, the agriculture ministry “laid out a clear path for seed companies to get approval for commercialisation of GM corn and soybeans. A month later it issued a document encouraging innovation in GM crop production, though foreign investors are banned from involvement in the sector . . . Though China has the most seed breeders in the world and produces the largest number of crop breeding research papers, the combined annual R&D investment of more than 7,000 Chinese seed-producing companies was only half that of German pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer . . .. “ See full article here.

China increases seed breeding, production bases: April 17: The number of national seed breeding and production bases in China has increased to 216, reports Xinhua, noting that the hubs are dedicated to breeding and production of seeds for grain, cotton, oil, and sugar, among others. In addition to “the 100 bases previously accredited, another 96 county-level areas in Heilongjiang Province, northeast China, have been identified as major national seed production bases, and 20 county-level places in Liaoning Province as regional breeding bases.. . During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), China earmarked over 5 billion yuan (about 782.5 million U.S. dollars) in support of seed production bases. They supply over 70 percent of seeds for crop production and ensure national grain security.” See original story here

Q1 news 

Zhenjiang seed entity inspections: March 24: Recently, the Dantu District Procuratorate of Zhenjiang City, Jiangsu Province, in accordance with the newly revised Seed Law, executed inspections of seed entities, focusing on addressing “weak areas of ​​seed circulation supervision”, in which they visited seed retailers and rural growers in the jurisdiction, looking to stamp out illegal sales of fake or substandard seeds in compliance with the recently revised law, which took force on March 1. Source here.

Notice calls for measures for sustained coronavirus control, spring seed supply: March 24: Jilin Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued a notice to ensure the supply of crops and seeds during the epidemic. At present, Jilin Province is in preparing for the spring ploughing period, and authorities continue to carry out coronavirus control measures  The notice calls for local agricultural and other concerned rural departments to take strong measures to continue to “fight the epidemic” while ensuring the success spring ploughing, including through the procurement and supply of seeds and other agricultural materials. News here.

Veg, wheat and corn planting prep in Tianjin: March 23: This year, Shuangjie Town Dehu Crop Planting Cooperative invested funds to upgrade its fruit and vegetable greenhouse base. At present, more than 850 fruit and vegetable greenhouses have been built on 1,100 mu (73.3 hectares) of land and have been gradually put into use. In addition to watermelons, farmers are also planting various other types of melons and cucurbits. Farmers  have also prepared machinery, seeds and fertilizer for the wheat and corn crops to be cultivated in the Dazhangzhuang Town, where 8,500 mu of land will be sown, including more than 3,500 mu of spring wheat, and another allotment for spring corn. See source story in Chinese.

Wheat seedling R&D to bolster planting capacity in Henan: March 22: In Junxian County, Henan Province as well as other nearby places a special campaign for "strengthening seedlings by science and technology " will focus on cultivating seedlings of winter wheat, which is aimed to increase cultivation area of “first class seedlings” from 300,000 mu (20,000 ha) to 400,000 mu (26,666 ha), and for “second-class seedlings” from 450,000 mu (30,000 ha) to 500,000 mu (33,333 ha). In the Wangsizhuang Village of the county, self-propelled sprayers, seeders, harvesters and other agricultural machinery will be utilized.  According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the total wheat output in Henan Province last year was 76.06 billion catties, accounting for 27.8% of the country's total wheat output. Original story here.

Beijing Seed Regulations come into force on April 1: March 21: New "Beijing Seed Regulations" were officially announced. The regulations, which take effect on April 1, focus on stimulating breeding innovation, maintaining national seed source security, food security and ecological security, promoting the construction of the seed industry capital, and promoting the self-reliance and self-reliance of the seed industry in science and technology and ensuring the “seed source is independently controllable . . . The regulations state that Beijing's seed industry has strong innovation power, but the basic theoretical research on breeding is still weak, the biological breeding technology is far from the international frontier, the integration of production, education, research and application is not closely, and the transformation efficiency of breeding scientific research results and intellectual property protection are insufficient. To this end, the regulations propose that Beijing will enhance its breeding innovation capabilities. Strengthen the main position of innovation of seed enterprises, and support enterprises integrating breeding, breeding and promotion, leading enterprises, characteristic enterprises, and specialized platforms to carry out technological innovation and international competition. Scientific research institutions and colleges and universities should focus on basic and cutting-edge research, conventional crop research, and biological breeding technology research, so as to improve the basic innovation ability of breeding” Source here.

Baoshan City spring ploughing prep and seed inspections: February 26: The current period is critical for spring ploughing and preparations, and it is also a peak period for seed sales. Hence, in the Longyang District of Baoshan City strict controls are being carried out to ensure the quality and reliability of of seed supplies. The district’s Seed Management Station has taken a strict approach to strengthened supervision including sampling and inspecting seeds for moisture, purity and germination, ensuring compliance with national standards. Reportedly, there are 47 main crop agents, 36 non-main crop agents and 376 seed retailers in Longyang District. Source story here.

Tea crops frozen in Wenzhou and Hainan: Feb 23: Cold weather and snowfall has caused havoc for many frozen tea gardens in Wenzhou, where agricultural technicians have been dispatched to higher elevations to provide guidance to tea farmers, including on using an appropriate amount of fertilization, and other measures to protect seedlings, rootstocks and plants. Source story here

Cold weather threatens nursery cropping in Hainan: February 22: Sustained low temperatures in Hainan have stunted the growth cycle of of tea crops, adversely affecting output. Reports from the green tea base of Haiken Baisha Tea Industry Co., Ltd. reveal that during the current harvest period, volume has been reduced from 6000-8000 kg/day to about 2000 kg/day, a cause for concern.. The wintry weather has caused concern for other companies, and nurseries in Hainan, where everything from rubber, coconut, garbo fruit, bergamot, betel nut, jackfruit and other seedlings were under threat, prompting cold resistance and cold protection measures, such as the construction of windproof greenhouses with enhanced air convection facilities, as well as utilizing certain drugs to improve photosynthesis and cold resistance traits of the seedlings, leaves, fruits and flowers. Source story here.

Russia resumes import of seed crops from China: February 18: According to a Russian media report, from February 20, Russia would resume permitting the import of certain seed crops from China. The resumption follows the suspension in the third quarter of 2019 citing plant quarantine and phytosanitary reasons. Source story here.

Sichuan seed supply update: February 15: Just after the Spring Festival, the province's soybean seed preparation has been carried out continuously, with soybean seeds getting special focus. On February 10, the province's soybean seed source scheduling meeting required all localities to release soybean seed source information in a timely manner, strengthen supply and demand scheduling, and speed up the progress of seed preparation.The province will add 3.1 million mu of soybean and corn intercropping technical tasks, and the guarantee of seed supply has been emphasized. Unlike seeds for grain crops such as hybrid rice and hybrid corn, soybean seeds are saved by more than 80% of farmers in the province, where planting area is currently reported to be about 13,000 mu. More details in original source story here.

China Seed Conference & Nanfan Silcon Valley Forum:  The 2022 China Seed Conference and Nanfan Silicon Valley Forum was held in Sanya for three days starting March 19. The theme was "China Seed Industry Revitalization, Nanfan Silicon Valley Rise", with 1 main forum, 13 sub-forums and 100 forums. Focus was on attracting talents for the construction of "Southern Silicon Valley" hub for seed R&D and breeding base. See promo here

China gene-editing guidelines provide path for commercialization: February 18: APSA’s Standing Committee for International Trade and Quarantine (SC ITQ) is deliberating with Chinese and international counterparts to determine how application of, and access to new breeding technologies in the world’s largest seed market will be impacted by new Genome Editing Guidelines. Announced on 24 January by the country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affair (MARA, the new guidelines, which categorize gene-edited products as a subcategory of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), may finally afford developers a clear pathway to commercialization, requiring companies to submit full biotech data: technology used; edits, transformations; and effects. Seed companies submit PCR assay results along with applications. Production certificates are applied for after pilot trials, reducing approval time from 5-6 years to 1-2 years. China leads all nations in agricultural gene-editing with roughly 75% of patents. Motivating the guide’s publication is desire to support domestic research -- though “Chinese-foreign contractual joint ventures, Chinese-foreign equity joint ventures, or wholly foreign-owned enterprises engaged in gene-edited plant research and testing within [China]” are covered in the text. However, keeping gene-edited crops under GMOs (so requiring biosafety certificates) suggests imports will be held in check. Meanwhile, MARA held no public consultation and has not requested comments, despite a lack of clarity on various aspecfts (e.g.: detection methods, definitions, timelines, etc, not in line with other nations’ regulatory frameworks). Implementation is at the state council level, under the GMO Office, with many -- often challenging -- procedures in place. Suggestions should be made to the ISF and APSA preliminary to discussions with MARA. A more comprehensive review of the guidelines, and their potential implications for seed R&D and trade in the region will be covered in the upcoming Q1 issue of Asian Seed and Planting Material, out at the end of March 2022. Meanwhile see also, China’s take on new breeding techniques and GM crops, and its implication | IHS Markit

China government prioritizes seed industry: February. 23: Xinhua reports that Chinese authorities have pledged vigorous efforts to make technological breakthroughs in the seed sector and galvanize its development as the country continues to push forward rural vitalization. Citing the newly-unveiled "No. 1 central document," the first policy statement released by China's central authorities this year, the country has outlined seed industry development as one of its policy priorities, with specific moves such as implementing an action plan on seed industry, promoting germplasm collection and enhancing intellectual property (IP) protection in the sector. Read more on state publicity news here.

Planting, cropping update: February 23: Planting of the 2022 main winter wheat crop, accounting for more than 90 percent of annual wheat production, completed in October and harvesting is expected to start in May. Estimates suggest the area planted is greater than the previous average. Increases in planted area were reported in the important wheat producing provinces of Hebei, Henan, Shandong and Jiangsu. Weather conditions have been favorable since last September, supporting planting activities and germination. Currently, wheat remains mostly dormant in the north, though tillers and jointing are apparent in eastern and central areas. According to field assessment reports, as of late January 2022, wheat crop conditions and soil

moisture were near average in the main producing areas. The minor spring wheat crop is planted from March onwards. Cereal production was above average in 2021. 2021 cropping concluded last November. Aggregate cereal production is estimated at 632 million tonnes (above average), mostly owing to increased maize and wheat production. Increases reflect expansion in area planted, mostly prompted by high domestic prices. Source:

Hunan ready for hybrid rice planting: February 21: With the coming of rain and sun, spring plowing looms. Hunan Yahua Seed’s one million kilograms of hybrid early rice seeds have been distributed to households, ready for planting; Longping Hi-Tech is still distributing seeds; and Zhuzhou Youxian Dadi Seed Industry Co., Ltd. has 150,000 kilograms of early rice seeds, put in storage a few years ago, ready to go in the ground. Strict controls at the provincial level, deployed in advance and scientifically guided, ensure no mildew or other adversities affect crops. Presently, the province has 53.759 million kilograms of early rice seed in reserve, a year-on-year increase of 19.29%, more than enough to meet demand. Source:

Spring planting underway in Menghai: February 22: Menghai County in Yunnan Province will plant 100,000 mu (1 mu = 0.165 acre, or 666.5 square metres) of grains in winter and spring. To complete planting on schedule, the county assigned each township specific measures -- such as crop planting technical training or regular on-the-spot guidance – to carry out. Menghai County is cultivating more than 35,000 mu of early rice, more than 14,000 of fresh corn, and more than 3,000 of potatoes. Source:

Blizzards affect agriculture in South China: February 22: Sleet or snow occurred on 22nd Feb in parts of Guizhou, Guangxi, Jiangxi, Hunan, Yunnan and other southern provinces, causing disasters affecting transportation, electricity, and agricultural production. In Guizhou, light snow or sleet occurred in 77 counties; snow in 72 urban areas; and heavy snow in some areas. Snow thickness in Wanshan District of Tongren City reached 12 cm. Guizhou’s Provincial Meteorological Bureau adjusted the Emergency Response level for freezing weather from Grade IV to Grade III. At 7.00 AM, 200 35kV lines of the Guizhou Power Grid Company were covered with ice. 13,574 emergency repair personnel, 5,043 vehicles, 18 generator vehicles and 144 generators were dispatched to carry out de-icing. Meanwhile, light to moderate rain occurred in most parts of Guangxi from February 18, with heavy rain in some areas, and freezing, icy roads or sleet in some mountainous areas of northern Guangxi, causing disastrous freezing in 45 counties and 13 cities. Crop area affected was 1,366.45 hectares. Population affected amounted to 58,282. Source:

China Seed Law Amendment effective March 1: 27 January: The latest amendment to China’s Seed Law, which was confirmed at the end of 2021, is set to strengthen protection of new plant variety owner rights while establishing an EDV system (with varieties listed in the law). Increased infringement penalties obtain throughout; positive encouragement is afforded original innovation. New Plant Variety Protection (PVP) revisions include punishment, indemnity and full-chain protection of new plant varieties and germplasm resources. Production, reproduction, processing for reproduction, promise to sell, sale, import, export and storage are covered, thereby solving practical problems related to infringement. Where losses are determined, the upper limit of court-imposed compensation rises from three to five times; if indeterminate, it rises from 3 million to 5 million yuan. Fake seeds incur penalties from 10 to 20 times right-holders' losses, and violators face prison; they must also indemnify right holders for legal costs. Chinese breeders have largely restricted themselves to popular varieties and core parents, resulting in narrow genetic bases, with more approved varieties but fewer breakthroughs. It is expected the EDV system will restrict varieties highly similar to core parents: the total number of varieties approved thus will be greatly vetted, intellectual property rights better protected and innovation promoted. The new law is effective March 1. A full review of the Seed Law will be featured in Asian Seed Magazines quarterly regulatory review, out in March. For Chinese summary see here, as well as, a translation of the amendment published by the United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service here.

Heilongjiang Soybean and Maize GMs Approved for Production: 12 January: After a near ten-year food and environmental safety assessment, genetically modified corn and soybean harvested in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province have been approved for commerce. GMs resist pests, tolerate herbicides and drought better than non-GMs; they tend to better quality at lower cost. With Heilongjiang GM soybeans, for example, 95% of weeds are cleared in one herbicide spraying, reducing costs by 50% and increasing yield by 12%. GM Maize resistance to Fall Army Worm is 85 - 95% (without pesticide) and yields increase 6.7 to 10.7%. Decreased use of pesticides is an environmental boon: no negative effects are reported on beneficial insects and soil quality. Four Chinese GM maize and three GM soybean varieties now have safety certificates, and are competitive on the world market. Officials say GMs “will break the bottleneck of agricultural production” in China. More details here.

Further Development of Corn Seed Breeding and Processing Bases in Ganzhou District: January 5: Ganzhou District chiefs expect to build a "bigger, stronger, first-class" seed industry by taking advantage of resources and state incentives. The district, in Western China's Gansu Province, on the border of Inner Mongolia, is already the largest hybrid maize seed production base in China, and home to seed industry leaders Ganzhou Henderson Limagland, Gansu Longping Hi-Tech, and Zhangye Denghai. Local leaders toured those companies and listened to relevant work reports at a subsequent forum, where it was announced that the seed industry may be turned round by seizing strategic opportunities offered by the state. The corn seed breeding and processing base, it was said, is being built into a high-quality industrial cluster with value topping 10 billion yuan. More details in Chinese here.

Non-Major crops list for Sichuan Province announced: January 5: The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has released the latest list of approved crops in Sichuan province, in southwest China. According to Chinese regulations, crops cannot be promoted unless first registered under the national registration system, which has been implemented since August, 2017, and affords interested parties timely information necessary to conveniently make queries and use available seeds. The latest Sichuan catalog covers 23 crops and 4624 varieties: 1,279 peppers; 798 Chinese cabbage; 478 watermelons; 536 rapeseeds; 414 tomatoes; 261 Brussels sprouts; 234 cucumbers; 211 melons; 102 peas; 56 sweet potatoes; 50 peanuts; 46 sorghum; 27 potatoes; 27 tea tree varieties; 20 stem mustards; 19 grapes; 18 broad beans; 14 citrus; 13 peaches; 15 barley; 4 apples, 1 sugar cane, and 1 pear. Find list and announcement in Chinese here

2021 News


Q4 News

Two Newly Reduced Foreign Investment Negative Lists Announced: December 27: For the fifth consecutive year, China has reduced the number of items on the country’s “negative lists” (items forbidden to foreign investment): on the National Negative List, from 33 items last year to 31 in 2021; and on the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) Negative List from 30 in 2020 to 27 in 2021. The new lists are effective from Jan 1, 2022 and afford investors wider latitude in doing business. The announcement came in a joint release from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Commerce. Source

China Seed Law Amended: December 24: A newly amended seed law was adopted during the closing session of the 13th National People’s Congress Standing Committee and signed into law by President Xi Jinping. Changes take effect March 2022. (APSA will update coverage of this soon. Meanwhile, find a full summary in Chinese here. Amendments were also made to the law on Civil Procedure and the Trade Union Law. New laws enacted included: one to suppress organized crime;

a wetlands protection act; revision to the law on Scientific and Technological Progress; and a law restricting noise pollution. Source

Quiantang District of Zhejiang Wins Achievement Award: December 22: Quiantang District of Zhejiang, just south of Shanghai on China’s central coast, saw year-on-year increases in 2021 of large-scale early and late rice planting areas by 25,000 mu (13.6%) and 33,000 mu (46.7%) respectively, with annual grain income at an historic high of 20 million catties (1 cattie = 0.5 kg in China). As a result, the Qiantang District Agriculture and Rural Affairs Bureau won an Outstanding Achievement award from Zhejiang Province. Success came after distribution to markets of: 30,000 kg of wheat seed; 5,800 tonnes of chemical fertilizers; more than 700 tons of pesticides; 350 tons of agricultural film; and creation of 12 “thousand-mu granary” demonstration areas (1 mu = 666.5 square metres). The District also developed an eight-dimensional evaluation system (centered on ecological contiguity, technology, yield and quality), with continuous multi-cropping in each demonstration zone stretching over a thousand acres, meanwhile promoting crop insurance for farmers: coverage increased to 97.4% of farms, totaling 84,400 mu, and premiums rose to RMB 3.4362 million, a 41.7% increase. Winter wheat plantings in the district have increased each year for the last four and now cover 30,000 mu. Source

Syngenta Acquiring Anhui Jianghuai Horticulture Seeds: December 20: In its first acquisition in China’s vegetable seed business since being established, Syngenta Group China’s China National Seed Group is taking over Anhui Jianghuai Horticulture Seeds, based at Wushan Base Park in Hefei, Anhui Province. Founded in 2002, Jianghuai specializes in breeding and sale of pumpkins, watermelons, melons, peppers, and other vegetables. Company resources include the Jianghuai Horticultural Molecular Breeding Laboratory and the Jianghuai Horticultural National Melon and Vegetable Breeding Innovation Base Germplasm Resource Bank. Germplasm resources are said to be abundant, and, after integration and coordination, will supplement Syngenta’s continuous research and development, and existing product line in harmony with the company’s “In China for China” strategy. Source.

Avian Depredations Can Amount to 20% of Wheat: December 26: Sparrows are small but they consume a considerable percentage of China’s grains -- up to 20 percent if not driven away. Although the government offers farmers a 4,500 yuan incentive to diversify plantings, and thereby reduce grain imports, many are reluctant to convert their fields: birds eat too much of the grain, with no way to control them. Farmers planting only onions, garlic, and American lettuce, on the other hand, face no such concerns as those crops sparrows do not eat. The tentative solution is to leave some post-harvest rice growing – called ‘leftovers’ -- for sparrows to peck while winter wheat is planting, and vice versa during rice planting season. Yet losses still ensue, and farmers are calling on relevant government units to pay attention and develop control methods to reduce losses. Source

Qinghai Province Reaps Near 3.5 billion Yuan From Cash Crops: December 26: In 2021, Qinghai Province, in western China on the border of Xinjiang (covering an area the size of Texas but with a population the size of Hong Kong), planted 44,700 ha to vegetables and 8,600 to fruits: output totaled 1.524 million tonnes and 158,300 tonnes respectively -- income from which is expected to reach more than 3.45 billion yuan. In addition, 251 new vegetable varieties (along with fruits and melons) are being introduced; 4,800 mu of purification and breeding bases constructed (such as the cold summer vegetable supply base in Huzhu County using solar energized greenhouses for red matsutake and other edible fungi); and characteristic Qinghai-Tibet Plateau fruits developed (such as Haidong City’s selenium-rich fruits, Xunhua’s unique Jianzha Huangguo peppers, soft and Changba pears). Thin-skinned walnuts, early pears, dajie apricots, and pear dates are cultivated at a production base in the Yellow River Basin; and cherries, life fruits, grapes and other varieties at one in the Huangshui River Basin, and another in Baili, Huangnan Prefecture. Source 1 and Source 2

5th International Import Expo to be held next November in Shanghai: The 5th edition of the CIIE is planned to be held November 5-10, 2022 in Shanghai, China. Organizers describe the expo as “the world’s first import-themed national-level exhibition”, providing ample opportunity for foreign enterprises to showcase their products and technology, access and expand in the Chinese market. The recentyly-ended 4th CIIE featured an exhibition area of 366,000 square meters, attracting over 2,900 enterprises from 127 countries and facilitating 70.72 billion US dollars worth of tentative deals for one-year purchases of goods and services. Asian Seed and APSA Events will be providing more details in the near future. Meanwhile visit the expo’s English language website here 

Commercial planting of GM soybeans in China closer as grain security becomes goal: December 9: Examination and approval processes are clarified, and technical standards set for further modification of already-approved GM varieties, in draft regulations aimed at ensuring grain security in China. They also bear on safety management, and thus bring the country a step closer to introduction of GM crops. Detailed approval rules for soybean and corn were rapidly introduced in 2021 as a result of the Sino-US trade war, marking a sea change in China’s skepticism towards domestic GM cultivation. The new draft criteria were announced by the Ministry of Agriculture in early December 2021. Biosafety certificates for domestically grown GM soybeans and two corn crops were issued late in 2019, with another 12 GM corn and three GM soybean varieties from domestic brands since. China has allowed some foreign-developed GM soybeans, corn, rape, cotton and sugar beets as raw materials, but only GM cotton and papaya are commercially planted. A three-year census of germplasm resources will support biotech breeding via molecular design to produce new varieties. Source:

National Bureau of Statistics Releases 2021 Grain Output Data: December 7: Output of high-yield corn increased by 23.8 billion jins (1 jin = 500 grams) year-on-year, or 4.6%. Soybeans decreased by 6.4 billion catties (1 cattie = 500 grams) or 16.4%. Corn, meanwhile, accounted for 89.1% of grain output increase (26.7 billion catties) – thus, corn, one of China’s three staples, is driving Chinese grain production in recent years. That might change, however, as a soybean revitalization plan initiated in 2019 begins to show greater results. Source:

National Chung Hsing University and WorldVeg in research Pact: December 8: The World Vegetable Center signed an MoU with National Chung Hsing University (NCHU) centered on joint vegetable research aimed at improving human health through better diet and reducing agriculture’s environmental footprint. Ten years ago NCHU established International Agronomy Master’s and International Agribusiness Bachelor’s degree programs to recruit agricultural talent for Taiwan. More recently, the Ministry of Education’s Higher Education Deep Ploughing Program has been offered at NCHU, focused on animal, plant, and agricultural biotech. Source

Golden Sorghum in Your Glass: December 27: A contract for production and processing of pure, waxy Taiwan Golden Sorghum (Tainan No. 7 and No. 8) was signed. The contracting parties included the Gin Liquor Company, the Taiwan Local Farmers Assn, Kaoliang County and City Farmers’ Assn and the mayor of Kinmen County. Goal of the pact is establishment of a supply chain that will: increase farmers’ income; increase supply of raw material to the distillery; significantly reduce irrigation needs. Source

Investment opportunities in China seed industry: November 19: Prospect in the world’s largest market for seeds, planting material and related inputs and technologies, continue to shine bright thanks to a foreign investment friendly policy to ‘open the door even wider’. Indeed, the People’s Republic of China has doubled down on progressive reforms in recent months, years and decades to revitalize not only its domestic seed industry, but its increasingly central role in the international seed industry. This has been highlighted by considerable incentives, promotions and protections for seed and breeding research and development, innovation and operations, which center around a regime of strengthened Intellectual Property Rights, regulatory supervision and streamlined registration processes. To highlight the important updates and factors in  Investment Opportunities in China, APSA, in collaboration with the China Seed Association (CSA) on November 19 co-organized a seminar with updates from both the CSA as well as the China National Seed Trade Association.  Exclusively for Active APSA Members only, the seminar was moderated by CSA Vice President, Mrs Ma Shuping and inaugurated with welcome remarks from CSA Vice President and Secretary-General, Mr. Jiang Xiexin and Mr. Wichai Laocharoenpornkul, President, Asia and Pacific Seed Alliance (APSA). The first of two keynote presentations was delivered by CSA President Mr. Zhang Yanqiu who provided a comprehensive overview of development and foreign investment laws, rules and policies, both inside and outside of China’s special economic zones or free trade port areas, culminating in the latest trends and prospects in China’s up and coming ‘Silicon Valley of seeds’ in Sanya’s Nanfan, referring to the Hainan free trade port area in the south of the country.This was followed by an informative presentation from CNSTA Secretary General Ms. Tian Weihong (Alison), who provided detailed insight on seed trade import and export figures and trends, globally and within China, including on specific strategic crop categories and related factors. The seminar concluded with a lively Q&A session between experts and several dozen  APSA members attending live. The seminar was recorded and can be viewed by active APSA members, who may also download presentations here.

New phyto measures for tomato, pepper seed imports: November 12: New phytosanitary measures have been announced by the General Administration of Customs, People’s Republic of China as part of efforts for the prevention of the introduction of Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus with seeds of the Solanum Lycopersicum and Capsicum spp. According to the latest notice ([2021] No. 91), starting 1 January 2022, different additional declarations will be required for tomato and pepper seed shipments to China. The measures concern country and cultivation areas’ pest free status, field inspections, seed health testing and re-export phytosanitary certificates. Continuing on from previous WTO SPS notifications (G/SPS/N/CHN/1223, notified on 16 July 2021, and G/SPS/N/CHN/1223/Add.1, notified on 21 October 2021) the latest notification, dated 12 November 2021 imposes the following phytosanitary requirements on concerned seed shipments:

  1. If the Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) does not occur in the country or area of origin, the competent phytosanitary authority shall state it in the additional declaration on the Phytosanitary Certificate: "This consignment of seeds is originated from___ (country or area), where is free of ToBRFV."
  2. If the ToBRFV occurs in the country or area of origin, but the seeds come from a pest free area for ToBRFV in accordance with the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 4, Requirements for the Establishment of Pest Free Areas (ISPM No. 4), the competent phytosanitary authority shall state it in the additional declaration on the Phytosanitary Certificate: "This consignment of seeds is originated from pest free area for ToBRFV."
  3. If the ToBRFV occurs in the country or area of origin and the pest free area has not been established, the competent phytosanitary authority shall carry out a field survey to confirm that no ToBRFV has occurred in the growth period in the planting areas, and take at least 3,000 (at least 10% for the seeds in small batches) representative samples of the seeds in the batch for testing by RT-PCR or Real-time PCR to confirm that no ToBRFV is present before export. The competent phytosanitary authority shall state in the additional declaration on the phytosanitary certificate: "Field survey was carried out during the growth period of this consignment of seeds, no ToBRFV occurred in the planting area. Prior to export, this consignment of seeds has been tested by RT-PCR (or real-time RT-PCR) and found free of ToBRFV." Seeds harvested before 1 January 2022 may be exempted from the field survey requirement, which shall be stated in the additional declaration on the Phytosanitary certificate: "This consignment of seeds was harvested before 1 January 2022, tested by RT-PCR (or real time RT PCR) prior to export, and found free of ToBRFV."
  4. Seeds of the Solanum lycopersicum and Capsicum spp. exported to China via a third country or area shall be accompanied by an original Phytosanitary Certificate issued by the competent phytosanitary authority of the country or area of origin with corresponding additional declarations, or a copy confirmed by the competent phytosanitary authority of a third country or area, in accordance with the requirements of the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 12 Guidellines for Phytosanitary Certificates (ISPM No. 12), and at the same time:

(i) If the seeds are only stored or assembled with other goods in a third country or area and are not contaminated by pests, the competent phytosanitary authority of the third country or area shall issue a Phytosanitary Certificate for re-export;

(ii) If the seeds in this consignment are contaminated by pests, the competent phytosanitary authority of the third country or area shall carry out pre-export testing and issue a Phytosanitary Certificate and state it in the additional declaration: "Prior to export, this consignment of seeds has been tested by RT-PCR (or real-time RT-PCR), and found free of ToBRFV."

See details from original notification on WTO website here

China NPPO updates tomato, pepper seed ToBRFV phyto measures: October 19: The General Administration of Customs of People’s Republic of China has notified the World Trade Organization’s Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of an addendum (G/SPS/N/CHN/1223/Add.1)  to recently-announced phytosanitary measures  concerning Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV in tomato and pepper (Capsicum sp.) seeds imported into China. The latest notification, which is dated October 21, and was circulated to trading partners starting October 19, is titled “Phytosanitary requirements for importing Solanum lycopersicum L. seeds or Capsicum spp. seeds on Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV)”.The initial notification, dated 16 July (G/SPS/N/CHN/1223) outlined a new requirement for China-bound tomato and pepper seeds to be certified by the exporting NPPPO to be from a “ToBRFV pest-free area”, or to be certified free of the pathogen through field inspection and a PCR test. However, the latest notification provides that, starting 1 November, 2021 “Seeds harvested before 1 November 2021 may be exempted from field inspection requirements, and the competent phytosanitary authorities of the exporting country shall indicate in the additional declaration of the Phytosanitary Certificate that "The seeds were harvested before 1 November 2021 and are free from ToBRFV as tested by RT-PCR or real-time RT-PCR before exporting." Furthermore, the addendum includes an additional article, addressing “Requirements for Re-export”, clarifying that seeds to be re-exported to China must be accompanied with the original or certified copy of the Phytosanitary Certificate “issued by the competent phytosanitary authority of the country of origin with the corresponding additional declaration” and a Phytosanitary Certificate from the re-exporting country’s NPPO certifying that the seeds are not contaminated or infested with ToBRFV. See notification addendum here, and initial notification here.

The addendum follows productive consultative exchanges between China’s NPPO and several international seed industry representative bodies, including APSA’s Standing Committee on International Trade and Quarantine.  In an August 23 letter to the NPPO signed by APSA Executive Director Dr. Kanokwan Chodchoey,  clarification was sought on certain aspects of the new measures. In addition to highlighting challenges the proposed measures posed, the letter gave some recommendations on how to minimize the impacts on seed trade while ensuring China fulfills its obligations as prescribed by the respective ISPMs. 

The full letter can be found on APSA’s Phytosanitary Affairs resource page here.

Seed industry advocates for international alignment in draft amendment of China Seed Law: APSA recently joined efforts with several international seed industry and plant breeding organizations to provide comments as part of the public consultation stage to review proposed amendments to China’s Seed Law.

APSA and its international associates were informed of the consultation process – which concluded September 18 -- by its associates at the China Seed Trade Association and China Seed Association, who had contributed industry comments on behalf of their respective members.

The draft amendment, which was presented on August 17 at the 30th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing, aims to strengthen the scope of Intellectual Property Rights protection.  Aside from extending the scope of IPR protection to include all aspects of seed production — from breeding to sales and storage — the amendment also includes a provision to recognize Essentially Derived Varieties (EDV) in accordance with the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention.

Moreover, there is stipulation for increased punitive damages for infringement, as well as stricter phytosanitary measures for seed production of species regulated as quarantine pests. China’s Seed Law was last revised in 2015 and incorporates a 2013 plant variety protection regulation. China became a member of UPOV in 1999, and currently adheres to the 1978 convention.

Submitted to the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China on September 3, the letter was signed by representatives of the International Seed Federation, CIOPORA, Crop Life International, Euroseeds, the Asia and Pacific Seed Alliance, the African Seed Trade Association and Seed Association of the Americas, representing the interests of thousands of companies active in research, breeding, production and marketing of agricultural, horticultural, ornamental and fruit plant varieties

The letter’s authors expressed appreciation to the Chinese government for its initiative to modernize its seed regime, particularly its recognition of EDVs, besides requesting clarification and revision to a number of articles and phrases in the draft to ensure consistency and alighnment with relevant international agreements and practices, especially those concerning plant breeders rights.

For full details, read the full letter here. An unofficial English translation of the draft amendment was shared by the United States Department of Agriculture and can be found here.  

Q3 News

Position Updates from CSA: September 16: The China Seed Association has announced a few organizational updates. Ms. Zhang Lu has been appointed as the deputy director of  the Department of Members and Exhibition. CSA and APSA thank her for her efforts to promote cooperation between the two associations. In her new department, she will now lead preparations related to the China Seed Congress. Filling her position as Deputy Director, Department of Cooperation & Exchange, is  Mr. Liu Xin (Max). A seed industry professional with some 17 years experience since graduating in 2004, Max previously worked with the Department Center of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs, Pioneer and the China National Seed Group Co., Ltd, 

Chinese central government stresses seed industry vitalization: September 10: Asian Seed has been informed by the China Seed Association about developments in recent months, including in July when China’s president Xi Jinping stressed efforts to promote the vitalization of seed industry, which was followed by a meeting in late August, when Chinese vice premier Hu Chunhua called for solid efforts to fully implement the action plan on vitalizing the seed industry to ensure the country’s food security and initiative in agricultural modernization.  “Seeds are the source of agricultural production, and China has made significant progress in developing its seed industry in recent years. However, the development foundation of the seed industry is still not solid. China would accelerate the cultivation of several superior species and continue to strengthen basic research and make breakthroughs in cutting-edge technologies”, Hu  said, before calling for “nurturing a batch of modern seed companies with competitiveness, increasing the steady supply of improved seed varieties, and improving the legal system for the seed market.” Moever,  CSA in September referenced an article about China’s Minister of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Tang Renjian published an article about promoting seed industry vitalization, which noted that the seed industry will be promoted through the comprehensive strengthening of the protection and utilization of germplasm resources; vigorous promotion of the innovation of seed industry; breakthroughs in cutting-edge technologies; support for the development of superior seed enterprises; development and improvement of seed industry bases; and the severe crack down on illegal activities.

China integrating electronic certification system with ePhyto solution: September 2: China has established a national electronic certification system and is in the process of making it compatible with the phytosanitary electronic certification (ePhyto) solution of the International Plant Protection Commission or IPPC. According to a September 2 article by the IPPC, and relayed here by the China National Seed Trade Association, the Chinese plant quarantine department is addressing challenges related to the actual delivery of electronic certificates, “due to the difference between the SPS version used in China's system and the network port version of other countries.” The development was revealed at the fifth meeting of the (ePhyto) industry consulting working group seminar series, hosted by the ePhyto Industry Advisory Group (IAG) to promote the use of The IPPC ePhyto solution that is beneficial to the safety of the trade of plants and agricultural products. The meeting, which was attended by 91 representatives from the government, private sector and trade association members, was presided over by Mr. Xia Jingyuan, Director of the Plant Production and Protection Division of the FAO, and formerly the Secretary-General of the IPCC. Mr Xia said that China is “basically ready for the digital exchange of phytosanitary certificates, and China's participation will be a big leap for the IPPC ePhyto solution.” not only with respect to compliance withInternational Standard for Phytosanitary Measures, but also the “WTO agreement on trade facilitation 7.9 And the key components of Article 10.1”. Also attending was Ms. Chen Ying, deputy director of the Integrated Operations Department of the General Administration of Customs of China and a Chinese member of the ePhyto steering group who gave an update on animal and plant inspection and quarantine work in China. 

As of September 21, 2021, 59 countries or territories were actively exchanging ePhytos via the IPPC HUB (including 12 through GeNS); 11 of these are in the Asia-Pacific: Australia, Fiji, Hong Kong (China), Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Israel, Nepal, New Zealand, Samoa, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan (Fiji, Israel Samoa and Sri Lanka through GeNS);  Furthermore, 24 were in the process of piloting ePhyto exchanges (16 through the GeNS) including four in the Asia-Pacific: People’s Republic of China, the Cook Islands,  Myanmar and  Papua New Guinea (the latter three through GeNS). Moreover, 18 more have registered but have not commenced exchanging, including 10 in the Asia-Pacific: Cambodia, Jordan, Malaysia, Oman, Palau, the Philippines, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu (Jordan, Oman, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu via GeNS). Source IPPC ePhyto Solution project website:

Besides, China was part of the initial ePhyto pilot  with nine other countries, which commenced in October 2017 and concluded March 2018. The pilot was to validate the operation of the hub (proof of concept), validate the design, review the use of the harmonized message schema and define the costs of operation. Aside from China, other pilot countries were Argentina, the Netherlands, the US, Australia, Ecuador, New Zealand, Chile, Kenya and South Korea. See details here

USDA unofficial translation of China Seed Law amendment draft: August 26: Following the release  by China authorities of a draft amendment to the Seed Law for public comment on August 20, 2021. The United States Department of Agriculture has compile a report that provided an unofficial translation of the full text of the document. The report noted that the amendment expands intellectual property rights for new plant varieties, extends and improves the level of protection, and attempts to stimulate domestic innovation, by strengthening plant variety protections (PVP), particularly for essentially derived varieties (EDV). See USDA report and translation here. APSA and the China National Seed Trade Association provided some feedback on the draft, which is covered in Asian Seed Volume 27, Q4’s regulatory summary. 

Inner Mongolia wheat varieties: Aug 21: New varieties of wheat are springing new life into the fertile fields of Inner Mongolia. "Nongmai 2", for example, is one new high-yielding, high-quality, strong-gluten spring wheat variety that promises a bumper harvest as it is shown to have stress and disease resistance, as well as good processing quality. Detailing traits and observations of this and other new varieties trialled, an article also highlights that in recent years, wheat planting area in Inner Mongolia has been around 8 million mu, accounting for about 40% of China’s spring wheat planting area. Original article here.  

Seed Law Amendment submitted: Aug 20:  Seed Law Amendment submitted: Aug 20:  A draft amendment to China’s Seed Law that aims to strengthen the scope of Intellectual Property Rights protection was submitted at the 30th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing on August 17. Aside from extending the scope of IPR protection to include all aspects of seed production -- from breeding to sales and storage -- the amendment also includes a provision to recognize Essentially Derived Varieties in accordance with the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention. Moreover, there is stipulation for increased punitive damages for infringement, as well as stricter phytosanitary measures for seed production of species regulated as quarantine pests. China’s Seed Law was last revised in 2015 and incorporates a 2013 plant variety protection regulation. China became a member of UPOV in 1999, and currently adheres to the 1978 convention. For more details on the draft amendment, see origina here for more details on the draft amendment. 

Hebei and Hubei variety exhibition evaluations: These two Chinese provinces recently organized variety exhibitions and demonstrations. August 19: Results for Hebei’s 2020-2021 winter wheat display trial evaluations have been announced. The announcement covers trial results for four main groups, including the central-south group of Hebei, Zanhuang County, Shijiazhuang City, and north of central Hebei. Various varieties were evaluated. See original story here for full details. In Hubei, guidelines for exhibiting varieties approved (registered) in the past three to five years were announced. See here for more details for Hubei varieties

Imported hamster feed with parasitic seeds intercepted: August 19: Customs officials in Fuzhou have intercepted and destroyed 16.34 kilograms of hamster feed that contained parasitic plant seeds of species classified as plant quarantine pests. Fuzhou Customs Technology Center determined that the intercepted batch, which had been imported from the Netherlands, contained 35 kinds of plant seeds, including types of dodder of the Cuscuta genus, which is an invasive, fast-reproducing parasitic parasitic herb that can suffocate and feed off of beets, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, soybeans and and various other types of crops. Original news here.

Liaoning IP reinforcement: August 19: The Office of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of Liaoning Province recently issued a notice announcing its plan to strengthen Intellectual Property Rights protection and related processes. The notice follows the issuing of the"Notice of the General Office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on Launching Special Rectification Actions for the Protection of the Intellectual Property Rights of the Seed Industry" and includes plans to organize training activities, strengthening enforcement measures as well as streamlining administrative and IP registration and filing processes. Original news here

Storms ravage crops: Agriculture across Chinese Taipei was adversely affected by typhoon-induced weather in August 2021:

Typhoon Lubi overview on Chinese Taipei ag damage: August 23: According to a report by the Council of Agriculture, Typhoon Lubi, which ravaged the island at the beginning of August, resulted in damage to agriculture totaling USD 52 million. The area affected encompassed over 5,900 hectares in the southern and central regions. The worst damage centered around Chiayi and Yunli counties and further south in Kaohsiung City and Pingtung county. Damaged crops include edible corn, peanuts, watermelon, cantaloupe, cantaloupe, and leafy vegetables. Livestock, poultry, and fisheries also experienced severe losses. The destruction has caused a rise in the prices of vegetables and fruits throughout the country. Original story in Chinese here 

Taoyuan crop damages: August 18: Torrential rain that lasted for several days at the beginning of August caused widespread damage to crops in Taoyuan municipality and around the southern and central region. To support farmers in the affected area, the Taoyuan Council of Agriculture is providing agricultural natural disaster relief for affected farmers. A total of 32 applications have been received so far, and applications are open up to August 23. According to the regulations set forth by the Council of Agriculture, aid recipients must be engaged in agriculture and damage must equal more than 20% of total production. After submitting a request for aid the office will send staff to inspect the damage to the farmland. Original story in Chinese here 

Yunlin storm damage crop Chinese Taipei: Aug 10: President Tsai Ing-wen traveled to Yunlin County on August 9, accompanied by the chairman of the Council of Agriculture, and mayor of Yunlin County, to inspect damage caused by Typhoon Lubi. The damage affecting agriculture, fisheries, and livestock in the county totaled roughly USD 8 million. In particular, peanut farmers were not only affected by damaged crops but also a lack of seeds causing high seed prices. The central government will provide natural disaster relief and low-interest loans to farmers in the county who have suffered agricultural losses. Original story in Chinese here 

Zucchini yellow mosaic virus detected in Urumqi: August 19: The Urumqi Customs Technology Center, located in the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the far northwest of the People's Republic of China, has announced the detection of zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV), an aphid-borne potyvirus, in exported zucchini seeds for the first time. Announcement in Chinese here 

Jiuquan seed expo: Aug 10: The 4th Jiuquan Modern Seed Industry Expo and the first Jiuquan Flower Expo were held in Jiuquan, Gansu Province on August 10. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the conference will be held through an online live broadcast and will also include offline elements. Due to its fertile soil, ample sunlight, dry climate, a large difference in day-night temperature, Jiuquan prefecture is recognized as one of the best areas for crop seed production in the world. The scale of Jiuquan seed production has continued to expand with rich germplasm resources, a strong scientific and technological foundation, breeding innovation, and an improved regulatory system leading to a number of special varieties being developed. The expo will comprise more than 4,000 varieties of 11 major crops including vegetables, flowers, sunflowers, and grains, 58 sets of seed-related agricultural machinery, and many seed industry enterprises covering the entire industry chain. Original story in Chinese here 

Henan recovers from flood impacts on cropping: Aug 3: Heavy rains and disastrous flooding in Henan has resulted in human casualties and severe impacts on cropping. Henan is a major agricultural province of China, with grain output exceeded 68 million tons last year, and accounting for about one-tenth of the country's total output. As of July 29, a total of 14.5 million acres of crops, including swatches of maize and wheat crops, had been affected by the recent flooding and rain disaster. At time of press, 11.9 million mu of inundated farmland had been drained, and 150,000 mu was replanted. Full details in original news here

Covid blamed for port congestion, rising freight: August 12: Congestion at China’s top two container ports -- Shanghai and Ningbo -- was reported to be linked to the shutdown of a container terminal at the Ningbo-Zhousan port following the detection of COVID-19 in a vaccinated employee. Vessels were being diverted, according to one report, while it was reported in another report that retailers abroad were “scrambling” due to “pressure on crumbling global supply chains”. The  Ningbo-Zhoushan port reportedly handled cargo equivalent to almost 29 million containers in 2020, and its partial closure compounded Chinese shipping stress following severe disruptions at the Yantian port in Shenzhen.The Delta variant of covid is being blamed for the latest disruptions, including staff shortages, slower working practices and backlogs of cargo, prompting many companies to add “Covid contract clauses” as insurance against losses linked to stranded ships. .The China port shutdown may fuel further increases in freight rates, which have been rising as the shipping industry grapples with bottlenecks.

China notifies new ToBRFV measures for seed imports: July 16: From September 20, stricter ToBRFV phytosanitary measures will apply to tomato and pepper (Capsicum sp.) seeds imported into China. The General Administration of Customs of People’s Republic of China on July 16 informed its trading partners via the World Trade Organization’s Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures notification mechanism (G/SPS/N/CHN/1223), that: 

“According to the Law of the People's Republic of China on Entry and Exit Animal and Plant Quarantine and relevant regulations of its implementation regulations, Solanum lycopersicum L. and Capsicum spp. seeds exported to China from countries or regions where ToBRFV occurs should meet the following requirements:

1. The Solanum lycopersicum L. and Capsicum spp. seeds exported to China come from ToBRFV pest free areas established according to ISPM No. 4 and officially recognized. The National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) of the exporting country shall indicate in the attached statement of the phytosanitary certificate of goods that "this batch of XX seeds comes from ToBRFV pest free area";


2.  According to the official investigation, ToBRFV did not occur in the planting areas and in the growing period of Solanum lycopersicum L. and Capsicum spp. seeds exported to China. For bulk goods, at least 3,000 representative Solanum lycopersicum L. or Capsicum spp. seed samples (at least 10% for small bulk goods) were taken before export, and the seeds were detected by RT-PCR or real-time fluorescence RT-PCR for ToBRFV, and the results showed that they did not carry ToBRFV. In the additional statement of the phytosanitary certificate, it shall be stated that "the official investigation on ToBRFV has been conducted during the growing period, and ToBRFV has not occurred in the planting area. Before export, the seeds were detected by RT PCR or real-time fluorescence RT-PCR and the results showed that they did not carry ToBRFV"

See original Chinese document here:

The notification follows the General Administration of Customs of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs’ Announcement No. 413 in April which added ToBRFV to is  list of imported Plant Quarantine pests, in addition to Maize dwarf mosaic virus, Candidatus, Liberibacter solanacearum Liefting et al., Otala lactea (Müller) and Euglandina rosea (Ferussac).

The China National Seed Trade Association and Asia Pacific Seed Association have reached out to China’s National Plant Protection Organization to seek clarification on certain aspects of the new measures, so as to minimize impacts on seed trade. Updates will be shared with and discussed through APSA’s Standing Committee on International Trade and Quarantine. 


Typhoon strikes China NE coast: July 26: Typhoon In-Fa (locally called Yan Hua or 烟花) made landfall in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, at around 12:30 pm on Jul 25, with wind gusts reported to be as high as 136.8 kilometers per hour. The Zhejiang emergency management department called for the closure of schools, factories and markets as Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport canceled inbound and outbound flights on Sunday and Monday. It was reported that over 1.1 million residents had been relocated on July 24, while various precautionary measures were taken to minimize agriculture risks in and around Shanghai.

Henan crops, infrastructure devastated by downpours, flooding: July 22: Dozens have perished as hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops have been destroyed by floodwaters in the Chinese province of Henan. Some reports, such as this one, said it is the worst downpour in decades.  According to one report as of July 22, some 73,000 residents were being evacuated as more than 215,200 hectares of crops had been destroyed, and there was a direct economic loss of about 1.22 billion yuan. Henan is reportedly one of China’s major crop production regions. Last year, the province yielded 68.26 million tons of grain, representing one-tenth of the country's total output. Nonetheless, according to another report, the heavy rain was only expected to “have a short-term impact on the production and logistics of vegetables and other agricultural products,” and would not impact output of corn, rice or wheat due the timing. According to a Chinese language report, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs stated on July 20 that 70% of the early rice planted in China had been harvested. High levels of precipitation were reported in Lushan County's Pingdingshan City, where more thann 35 square miles of crops worth $11.3 million were damaged or lost. APSA has learned that the Beijing Seed Association has called on its members to donate seeds to affected farmers including in Zhenzhou city and elsewhere. 

China moon rice harvested: July 11: The first crop of "space rice" has been harvested at South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou. The rice was grown from 40 grams of rice seed that landed on the moon and returned to earth aboard the Chang'e 5 on a five-month lunar mission. The offspring of this first batch will be transplanted to rice paddies to be grown outdoors for the first time as part of China's space mutation breeding experiment. Each seed of the "space rice" is about 1 cm long with an off-white and brown body, and is expected to produce a batch of better gene sources for the selection and breeding of new high-yield and high-quality varieties. To ensure safety for consumers, the rice seeds will be developed and tested over 3 to 4 years, with the expected result of producing a 100% original Chinese new rice variety. Original story in Chinese here

MARA eases seed import burden: July 9: The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) announced on July 8 that to reform the country's seed industry, MARA has recently streamlined the approval process for the import and export of crop seeds and cancelled the provincial-level review process. Full video report in Chinese here. The revised guidelines are aimed at encouraging the introduction of germplasm resources for breeders and researchers, as well as providing an easy to follow legal compliance process. The Ministry of Finance together with the General Administration of Customs and the State Administration of Taxation also clarified that from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2025 imported seeds are exempt from import value-added tax. It is hoped that the relaxation of tax for seed imports during the period will play an important role in improving the quality, efficiency and competitiveness of the country's agriculture. Original story in Chinese here 

Showcasing improved soybean varieties in Bei'an: July 8th: In the 130-hectare Bei'an Modern Agricultural Science and Technology Demonstration Park in Heilongjiang Province carried out 12 trials and demonstrations focussed on the breeding of high-protein soybean varieties. In 2021, some 13,000 hectares of high-quality farmland, 10 agricultural science and technology parks, and 4 water conservation projects will be created in the area. Read original story here

8th Ningxia Seed Industry Expo: July 8: The 8th Ningxia Seed Industry Expo will be held in Pingluo County in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region on July 26-28 at Ningxia Taijin Seed Industry Industrial Park. The expo will feature "technology, sharing, quality, integration" as the theme with online displays and live broadcasts to help companies enhance their brand and connect with customers. Highlights will include a seed industry development exchange symposium, forum, industry awards ceremony, and inspection of seed production and crop planting bases in townships in Pingluo County. The area features flat terrain, fertile soil and mineral-rich water from the Yellow River with 1.2 million acres of arable land and a complete agricultural infrastructure to develop seed production. Original story in Chinese here 

Sichuan Province Announces 2021-2022 Disaster Relief and Famine Preparedness Seed Reserve Plan: July 8: To ensure the security of seeds used in agricultural production, Sichuan Province announced the province's 2021-2022 Disaster Relief and Famine Preparedness Seed Reserve Plan, which divides seed reserves into disaster relief and famine preparedness categories. Disaster relief seeds include short-growing crop varieties such as vegetables, soybeans, miscellaneous grains and beans, with a total 400,000 kilograms of seeds and the subsidies of USD 0.5 per kilogram. Famine preparedness reserve seeds include hybrid varieties of rice, corn and rapeseed with 800,000 kilograms of seeds, and a subsidy of USD 0.08 per kilogram. The reserve period will be from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022. Original story in Chinese here

Yunnan sinkhole attracts rare plant seed hunters: July 7: The Southwest China Wildlife Germplasm Bank of the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, conducted an expedition to collect and preserve the germplasm of species in the unique habitat of large sinkhole around Mengzi City in Yunnan Province. On June 17, 2021, a professional rock climbing team, assisted by drones, collected the germplasm of plants in the sinkhole to a depth of 100 meters and discovered critically endangered plant species that had not been seen for over 100 years. The Southwest China Wildlife Germplasm Bank in Yunnan is home to over 85,000 seeds from 10,601 species.  Original story in Chinese here 

Cold weather impacts maize planting and germination in Zhangye: July 6: Low temperatures and heavy rains this May and June have resulted in reduced germination of maize seeds in Zhangye in Gansu Province. The temperature in many northwestern provinces has been lower than in previous years, resulting in slowed germination and growth, and together with high humidity, has caused seed rot and mold. In Xinjiang, heavy rain and snow in April caused severe frost damage to crops. Original story in Chinese here 

Zhangshu City Launches New Late Rice Variety Demonstrations: July 2: To promote and encourage the adoption of newly developed late rice varieties, Zhangshu Agriculture and Rural Affairs Bureau in Jiangxi Province has organised demonstrations of late rice seed preparation, seedling field selection and tillage. Original story in Chinese here 

Tianjin rice selection and transplanting: June 30: Xiaozhan rice cultivation in Tianjin Municipality has grown to 67,000 hectares under cultivation, an increase of about 13,000 hectares from last year. The planting process of Xiaozhan rice uses standardized seedlings and seedling transplanting and is planted later than in other regions. Original story in Chinese here 

Record rice yield in Qiongbei: June 27: The Chaoyou Qian hybrid rice planted in Lingao County of Hainan Province has set a record for Qiongbei’s highest rice yield at 13.56 tonnes per hectare. The project was led by the late Yuan Longping, often referred to as the "Father of Hybrid Rice", of the Hainan Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Cao Bing, Vice President of the Provincial Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The demonstration project aims to produce 13.5 tonnes per hectare in early cropping, 9 tonnes per hectare in late cropping, and 22.5 tonnes per hectare in double-season crops. Original story in Chinese here 

China corn expo varieties: June 25: Taking place at the Tianfu Modern Seed Industry Park in Chengdu on June 24th, the 2021 China (Sichuan) Fresh Corn Conference included an exhibition of a total of 568 new fresh corn varieties. A panel of twelve industry experts conducted a comprehensive selection of the exhibited varieties that included 156 waxy corn varieties, 198 sweet and waxy corn varieties, 195 sweet corn varieties and 19 speciality varieties. The exhibition was aimed at promoting rural revitalization by encouraging the development and registration of high-quality varieties. Selection criteria included field performance, ear yield, appearance and eating quality. Zhang Yanqiu, chairman of the China Seed Association, and Xiao Xiaoyu, a member of the party group and deputy director of the Sichuan Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, issued certificates to the winners of the variety selection.  Original story in Chinese here 

Chongqing strengthens seed supervision: June 23: The municipality of Chongqing has launched a three-year plan to regulate and modernize its seed industry. The plan includes four parts, starting with the strict management of seed production bases, including the licensing of seed production enterprises, daily inspections of seed production bases, and cracking down on intellectual property infringements and illegal genetically modified seeds. Second is the inspection of seed companies, focussing on seed quality, packaging labels, authenticity, and genetically modified ingredients. Thirdly, the municipality will conduct spot checks at markets to inspect seed packaging labels, records and accounts, and testing seed quality and authenticity. Finally, the Chongqing municipal government will promote self-regulation amongst seed industry organizations and introduce standardization in seed production and operations of seed industry enterprises. Further, the municipal government will support industry organizations in carrying out evaluations such as variety appraisals and applying for variety registrations. Original story in Chinese here

Judiciary interpretation strengthens new variety rights: On July 5, the Supreme People's Court issued the "Several Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on the Specific Application of Legal Issues in the Trial of Disputes over Infringement of New Variety Rights in Plants (2)" Effective July 7, the new judicial interpretation has five salient aims as follows (rough translation): The first is to expand the scope of protection to cover the entire value chain, from breeding to sales, variety acquisition, storage, transportation, and processing. The second is to improve the level of protection by improving the timeliness and effectiveness of judicial procedures, issuing more punitive measures to deter infringement, as well as through benefits and compensation for breeder rights holders. The third is to reduce difficulties in the procedures to register and thus safeguard rights; the fourth is improvement of the overall legal system, clarifying scientific research exceptions and encouraging breeding innovations while preventing abuse of "farmers' privileges". The fifth is to standardize auditing and appraisal procedures. See original interpretation in Chinese language here.

Syngenta sells 20% stake in Shanghai IPO: July 3: Syngenta Group, the ChemChina-owned Swiss agrichemical company, filed an application for an initial public offering in order to raise $10 billion on the Shanghai STAR Market.The company said it planned to raise to sell up to 2.79 billion shares, or a 20% stake, via the IPO, according to the prospectus. The listing was reported to be the largest IPO globally in 2021 and the biggest ever at the two-year-old STAR Market, a Nasdaq-style tech-heavy exchange. The IPO would value Syngenta at over $50 billion. "Syngenta Group will expand and renovate its production facility and implement strategic acquisition to meet growing market needs," the company said in the prospectus. State-owned ChemChina bought Syngenta for $43 billion in 2017. Last year, ChemChina merged the Swiss company with Israel's ADAMA and the fertilizer and seed business of Sinochem, another of China's state-owned chemical firms.  Syngenta employs about 49,000 in more than 100 countries, according to its website. Its four business units are: Syngenta Seeds, Syngenta Crop Protection, ADAMA and Syngenta Group China. See news here


Q2 News

‘Father of Hybrid Rice’ Yuan Longping passes away: May 22:  APSA would like to express sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and associates of Professor Yuan Longping, who passed away in the southern Chinese city Changsha on Saturday (May 22). He would have turned 91 this September. Longping is survived by his wife of 57 years, Deng Zhe. Read full Tribute here.

Longping Hi-Tech seed business thrived in 2020: In an operations performance briefing on May 25, it was revealed that in 2020, the company realized operating income of 3.29 billion yuan ($515.8 million), which represents a year-on-year increase of 5.14%. Of this, CNY 60.81mn ($9.5mn) was net profit, a y-o-y increase of 118.76%. Breaking down revenu by type of crop seed, hybrid rice seeds yielded revenue of 1.390 billion yuan ($217.9mn), a y-o-y increase of 10.69%; maize seeds fetched 988 million yuan ($154.9mn), an increase of 26.85% while vegetable and fruit seeds netted 294 million yuan ($46mn) up 19.21% from 2019. See full details in Chinese news report here.

Beijing Seed Regulation pitches penalties for unauthorized use of natural germplasm: May 27: The recently proposed "Beijing Seed Regulations" draft bill stipulates that unauthorized harvest or use of catalogued “natural germplasm resources” will be subject to fines of between 5,000 and 50,000 yuan ($784-7,840). The draft bill was discussed at the 31st meeting of the Standing Committee of the 15th Beijing Municipal People's Congress, where it was revealed that by the end of 2019, there were 265 licensed seed production and operation enterprises in Beijing, more than 80 national-level seed industry research and development institutions, more than 50 national-level seed industry engineering centers and key laboratories, as well as 13 integrated enterprises, accounting for 15% of the country's total. The draft bill has 8 chapters and 51 articles covering general provisions, protection of germplasm resources, variety selection and management, seed production and operations, seed supervision and management, support and protection, legal responsibilities and supplementary provisions. It was reported that the draft bill aims to standardize variety selection, seed production, operation and management, safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of seed producers and users, improve seed quality, promote seed industrialization, and develop a modern seed industry.  The draft regulation proposes that the major crop varieties and major forest tree varieties shall be examined and approved by the state in accordance with the relevant provisions of the state before they are promoted. See original full story in Chinese here

Plan pitches Jinan City as ‘North China Seed Capital’: May 27: An "Action Plan for Accelerating the Innovation and Development of Modern Seed Industry and Striving to Build the Seed Capital of Northern China" underlines a goal to develop Jinan City as a research and innovation center for the Yellow River Basin seed industry, noting that the area surrounding the capital of Shandong province has become a hub for leading seed industry company headquarters, and a distribution center for seed and seedling transactions, R&D center for the improvement and trade of crop seeds as well as vegetable seedlings. The plan proposes that by 2025, the creation of 10 national-level seed industry R&D centers as well as the development of “20 breakthrough and excellent varieties with major application prospects and independent intellectual property rights” the establishment of 10 standardized, large-scale, intensified, and mechanized high-quality seed breeding bases; 10 "integrated breeding and promotion" crop seed management enterprises and leading enterprises with strong breeding ability, advanced production and processing technology, sound marketing networks, and technical promotion services in place; as well as the development of at least 10  enterprises with an annual output of more than 100 million yuan, and for the city’s annual seedling production capacity to exceed 2 billion units. See details in Chinese here

Shandong as a Chinese medical herb breeding hub: May 24: Shina Finance reports on efforts and progress in Shandong to strengthen the selection and breeding of new varieties of Chinese medicinal materials, and thus ‘consolidate the foundation of the Chinese medicine industry’. The article notes that Shandong is a major province of Chinese medicine, and in recent years, Shandong has continuously strengthened the selection and breeding of new varieties of valuable Chinese herbs. Several specifical examples are detailed in the article

Xinjiang hybrid maize production base: May 26: The Fifth Division (of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps) is classified as a National Hybrid Corn Seed Production Base, where tens of thousands of mu (1 mu = 666.6 sq. meters) of seed-producing corn is reportedly growing well. It is understood that in 2013, the Fifth Division was identified as a national hybrid corn seed production base by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and was listed as a national hybrid corn seed production county, where farmers and producers are eligible for financial incentives and support for development. This year, the five divisions planted 24,900 mu of seed production corn, and the output value is expected to reach 62.25 million yuan.  Full details in Chinese here

Space Seeds distributed on UN Intl Biodiversity Day. To celebrate the United Nations International Biodiversity Day on May 22, the Hong Kong UNESCO Association organized an event at the Hong Kong Institute of Education for Sustainable Development, in which "space seeds" were distributed to member schools of the Hong Kong Aerospace Science and Technology Youth Education Alliance, so as to increase students' interest in scientific exploration of biodiversity . It is understood that the alliance breeding program was launched in 2015. In 2019, a number of "space seeds" brought back by the "Shenzhen 10" satellite were planted in alliance member schools. In March 2021, the "Long March 5 Space Seed" was planted at the Hong Kong Space Seed Breeding Center. See chinese video report here

Guidance on improving, promoting Beijing wheat production: May 21: As part of ongoing efforts by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Affairsto promote the development and productivity of improved wheat varieties in and around the Chinese capital, Beijing has carried out activities to provide guidance and incentive to wheat farmers, see through the renewal of improved varieties, and thus ensure the quality of wheat production seeds this autumn, while promoting a steady increase of wheat production in the suburbs of Beijing. See more details here

Sichuan major crop variety inspection notice: May 20: Provincial agriculture officials have announced a notice for carrying out the “Supervision and Inspection Work of the Independent Test of Major Crops in Sichuan Province in 2021” task, which will include “random inspections”  of major crop production areas  ‘in order to further strengthen the supervision and management of the province's main crop variety trials, standardize the independent experimentation of the province's main crop varieties to ensure the overall quality level of the province's main crop variety trials. For full details of inspections and notice in Chinese, see here

Striving for ‘excellent variety’ yields in Ningxia: May 20: A plan jointly drafted by the Ningxia Science and Technology Department and the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Department, entitled "Seed Industry Science and Technology Innovation Action in the Autonomous Region" aims for the development and cultivation of some 40 excellent new varieties of wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, wine grapes, medlar and forage grass by 2030, in addition to high-quality and high-yielding dairy cows and beef cattle breeds.  An article announcing the plan notes that although the area of the Ningxia autonomous region in north-central China is small, it is a “golden zone for seed breeding. Its unique geographical location, climatic conditions, and soil characteristics enable the cash crop seeds produced in Ningxia to have high yields, full grains, bright colors, low moisture content, storage resilience, and germination.” Full details about the plan in Chinese here

Beijing approves 17 new varieties: May 20: In accordance with the Chinese procedures for reviewing and approving new crop variety applications, the Ninth Crop Variety Approval Committee of Beijing Municipality in its 39th Review has approved 17 new varieties, which include 12 maize and five soybean cultivars. For full list of varieties and their developers, see this article.  

WorldVeg sends more germplasm to ‘Doomsday Vault’: May 19: Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) and the World Vegetable Center have sent some 11,700 samples of 48 vegetable species to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault off Norway. According to a news article, “WorldVeg has been an active participant in the Svalbard Seed Vault since its founding in 2008…”. Prior to this latest shipment, the WorldVeg had stored 17,736 accessions, and now that will increase to 29,507 accessions. By 2025, WorldVeg aims to have at least 90%, if not more, of its active collection (65,000 accessions representing 456 species from 158 countries) duplicated in the seed vault. See more details here

New wheat varieties exhibited in Henan: May 15: Hundreds attended the Henan Province New Wheat Variety Exhibition, which was hosted  in Weishi recently by the Henan Seed Station and Kaifeng Agriculture and Rural Bureau, and undertaken by Kaifeng Seed Workstation and Weishi County Agriculture and Rural Bureau. It was reported that the city has cultivated 300 acres of new wheat varieties to display in  demonstration fields. Productivity of the varieties was as much as 600 to 650 kg per mu. See more details in Chinese here

Guizhou wheat variety trial inspections, review: May 13-14: In order to further strengthen the trial management of new crop varieties in our province, improve the quality of regional trials, and fully understand the implementation and performance of regional trials the Provincial Seed Management Station on  May 13-14 conducted performance reviews and field inspections at various sites, including the Qiannan Prefecture Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Qiandongnan Prefecture Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and Tongren City Academy of Agricultural Sciences. It was agreed that the trials in all districts were implemented in strict accordance with the requirements of this year’s test plan. See more details in Chinese here

Hainan winter cotton, rice variety appraisals: On May 12-13, 2021, the National Agricultural Technology Center in Hainan Province carried out variety purity appraisal of cotton and rice samples. An appraisal team composed of relevant seed inspectors and industry experts screened all samples on a plant-by-plant basis and conducted centralized review and consultation in accordance with the "General Rules for Crop Seed Labeling" for cotton, and in compliance with national standards for the quality of rice seeds The preliminary findings are that the “purity of rice and cotton varieties spot-checked by ministerial winter seed companies in 2020 will maintain a relatively high level”. See original news in Chinese here

New soybean breeding laboratory opened in Hainan: On May 12, the Yazhou Bay Seed Laboratory was inaugurated in Hainan Province. “The laboratory focuses on national strategies and frontiers in science and technology, and Hainan urgently needs to carry out major technological research, highlight the realization of system and mechanism innovation, and create an experimental field for scientific and technological management reform and innovation,” said the director of the new laboratory, which is currently focusing on research and development for soybeans, encompassing molecular-scale breeding, genome-wide selection technologies, and development of high-yielding and high-quality varieties. The article, in Chinese here, also details various pros and cons of Hainan Province as a research and breeding base to host new laboratories. 

Early-maturing rice Heshan, Yiyang: On May 10, early-maturing rice seedlings that were transplanted on a tract of land in  Gaojiaqiao Village, Henglongqiao Town, Heshan District were vegetating nicely. According to the village party secretary, two years ago, ​​early-maturing rice -- which allows for double-season production -- was first cultivated in the village last year, on nearly 1,000 mu. By this year, all the 1,700 mu of available paddy fields have been planted with early-maturing rice, which, as of May 6, had been planted on ​​1,722,400 mu around Yiyang city. See news here

CNSTA, ISF, ag stakeholders in EDV, UPOV-1991 seminar: To mark World Intellectual Property Day on April 26, the China Seed Trade Association (CNSTA) with the International Seed Federation -- and with strong support from China’s Science and Technology Development Center of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Crop Science Asia Association Beijing Representative Office and Corteva -- held an international symposium on the Essentially Derived Variety (EDV) system, an essential part of the UPOV 1991 convention. The seminar was attended by dozens of Chinese seed industry stakeholders in person at a hotel in the Chaoyang district of Beijing, and featured presentations and discussions led by both Chinese and international seed industry representatives. Perspectives on the application of EDVs were shared by seed association representatives including ISF and the American Seed Trade Association, as well as from companies such as Corteva and Syngenta. See full details in Chinese here

2021 China International Seed Trade Exhibition(CISTE): Organized by the China National Seed Trade Association (CNSTA) and CCPIT Sub-council of Chemical Industry, the 2021 China International Seed Trade Exhibition(CISTE) will take place at the Shanghai New International Expo Center on June 22-24, 2021. As part of the 22nd China International Agrochemical & Crop Exhibition (CAC), the world's largest agrochemical trade event with 1,475 exhibitors, CISTE offers a Opportunities to negotiate face-to-face with nearly 50,000 buyers of agricultural products from 114 countries around the world, network with domestic and international seed distributors, learn about the latest seed technologies, processes and equipment, and obtain the most comprehensive international seed market price information. Visit the official website to learn more about the event.

Reducing reliance on imported seeds to ensure food security: 3 Apr: At the 2021 China Development Forum, which was hosted by the Development Research Center of the State Council from 20 - 22 March 2021, Qin Hengde, President of Syngenta Group China, said, "High-quality seeds are still very important for the scientific and technological support of our food security. My country must narrow the gap with the world's leading technology as soon as possible, especially our corn and soybeans. There is still a lot of room to make up for." Mr. Qin argued that the two main problems to be solved were breeding technology and the protection of intellectual property rights. To address these he proposed three solutions. First, to accelerate the introduction of high-quality seed resources and advanced breeding technologies into the country. Second, to promote the sustainable development of the country's industrial biotechnology. Third, legislation to protect intellectual property rights and to establish a substantive protection system for derived varieties including increased punishment for intellectual property infringements. According to Ye Xingqing, director of the Rural Economic Research Department of the Development Research Center of the State Council, China will produce 670 million tons of grain and import 140 million tons of grain in 2020. According to estimates, China's demand for grain may reach 850 million tons, leaving a potential shortfall of 60 million tons. Demand for soybean and soybean meal, which supplies 60% of animal feed protein, continues to rise, with imports reaching 100 million tons for the first time in 2020. Original story in Chinese herehere and here.

Hunan Province starts construction of first batch of "seed industry towns": 

2020 News


China crop seed industry grew in 2019 vs 2018: December 2020:
The " 2020 China Crop Seed Industry Development Report'' was recently compiled and published by the Seed Management Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the National Agricultural Technology Extension Service Center and the Science and Technology Development Center of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. According to the report, by the end of 2019 , the number of companies with valid seed production and operation licenses numbered 6,393, an increase of 730 from 2018; the total assets of national seed companies reached 247.947 billion yuan, which represented an increase of 40.674 billion yuan from 2018. The report also listed the top 10 seed companies in China. For full details see this article in China Seed 114. 
19th Guangdong Seed Expo:
On December 12, 2020 the 19th Guangdong Seed Expo and the 2020 World Conference on Digital Agriculture opened in Kemulang, Guangzhou. With the theme of “Digital Agriculture introducing the Future Creative Energy to Modern seed Industry” taking high-standard field exhibition as the platform and digital agricultural science and technology as the core, through the innovative integration model of “booth exhibition + field exhibition + N”, the conference deeply integrates digital and seed industry and gathers the innovative elements of digital agriculture development. Empower the modern seed industry and promote the high-quality development of modern agriculture. At this year’s Guangdong Seed Expo more than 6000 excellent new and characteristic varieties from China and abroad were on display, representing cutting-edge and top scientific and technological achievements, highlighting the supporting role of variety quality in the development of the industry. For more details, click here.
Jiangxi Germplasm Bank breaks ground: December  2021:
On December 28, 2020, a groundbreaking ceremony for the Jiangxi Provincial Crop Germplasm Bank Construction Project was held at the Provincial Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The project is part of efforts to promote the high-quality development of agriculture in the province. After the establishment of the crop germplasm resource bank, the storage capacity of crop germplasm resources will reach 100,000 samples and the storage capacity of in vitro materials will reach 2,000 samples, which would be sufficient to meet the needs of the province for the preservation of crop germplasm resources for the next 30 to 50 years. It  is understood that the total construction area of ​​the crop germplasm resource bank in Jiangxi Province will be 2102.69 square meters, including 406.06 square meters of cold storage for germplasm resources, 512.48 square meters of supporting buildings for germplasm resources, and 1184.15 square meters of resource identification and evaluation laboratory. The Jiangxi Crop Germplasm Bank will provide long-term germplasm resource preservation services, germplasm resource evaluation and identification services, germplasm introduction and utilization services, and germplasm science education services for universities, scientific research institutes, enterprises and institutions. More details in Chinese here
Hainan seed hub blossoming: December 2020:
Southern China’s Hainan province has been vigorously promoting its collection and protection of germplasm resources, a Hainan provincial seed station work conference was told. According to a news report from the conference, during the period from 2018 to 2020, Hainan Province officials had given approval for 79 new rice varieties, 86 new varieties of major crops and 88 new varieties of non-major crops. During this period, there were 214 applications for the protection of new plant varieties, 31 authorizations; 124 high-quality new varieties were selected and promoted, and 217 agricultural technology demonstration bases were established in 11 central and western cities and counties. As part of efforts to promote the southern Chinese locale into a “Silicon Valley” for seed R&D, production and trade, all 18 cities and counties in the province have established seed management agencies and comprehensive agricultural law enforcement agencies. More details in Chinese here.
Chongqing city seed and seedling market self-inspection: December 2020:
As part of ongoing efforts to regulate the seed and seedling market the Chongqing Municipal Agriculture and Rural Committee issued the "Notice on Carrying out the Quarantine Inspection of the Seed and Seedling Market in the City", requiring districts and counties to carry out self-inspection to ensure entities are in full compliance with the laws and regulations. The notice said that random inspections would be conducted in counties in the breeding base area and key seed management districts and counties. The inspections would mainly focus on the illegal import, distribution and sales of seeds and seedlings, and be carried out mainly at seed and seedling breeding bases and production enterprises, according to an announcement from the Chongqing Seed Station, as reported here in Chinese seed news.
58 crop varieties in Ningxia subsidized this year: December 2020:
The Ningxia Autonomous Region’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs revealed that this year the Autonomous Region’s Seed Workstation has subsidized 58 crop varieties in the region, with subsidies and incentives totaling 620,000 yuan ($94,737). Among the varieties, four were “national-approved varieties”, each receiving a subsidy of 50,000 yuan ($7,640) and 30 provincial-level approved varieties, with a subsidy of 10,000 yuan ($1,528); in addition, 24 non-major crop varieties registered nationally had benefited from  a subsidy of 50,000 yuan. The report, which highlights some of the varieties, including maize and tomato, is here in Chinese
Students study space vegetable breeding at  "Moon Palace": December 2020:
Seeds previously sent to space aboard the Chang'e-5 are being studied and nurtured into plants by Beijing primary and secondary school students. As part of coursework organized by faculty of and collaboration between  Beihang University and Beihang Primary School, students are learning to cultivate vegetables in a moon-simulation environment created as par of the Xiaodongmen or  "Little Moon Palace". Activities include turning solid waste into fertilizer and raising yellow mealworms to conduct exploration experiments. More details in Chinese here
Reviewing ‘typical’ PVP infringement cases in China: December 2020:
A symposium has identified 10 typical PVP infringement case examples from the past two years, and specifically how the courts and authorities ruled. The examples were discussed at the National Symposium on the Protection of New Varieties of Agricultural Plants in Shouguang, Shandong Province. The event was hosted by the Seed Management Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the Science and Technology Development Center of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, with the China Seed Association. Specific examples can be reviewed in Chinese language here, and will be covered in Asian Seed Magazine.  
Crops severely damaged by locusts in Yunnan
Swarms of yellow-spined bamboo locusts (Ceracris kiangsu) have destroyed crops on more than 10,000 hectares of land in China’s Yunnan province. Reported here on August 4, citing China Central Television, Xinhua news agency and Caixin via the Forestry Department of Yunnan Province, farmers in several areas of the province have reported problems with the pest for the past three summers. Damage this past July was reportedly worse than before, prompting Provincial authorities to deploy “dozens of drones to monitor crops” and mobilizing a “tteam of 57,000 emergency workers to fight the pests. See also this report from Xinhua earlier in July
CNSTA announces 2021 seed trade show
China National Seed Trade Association (CNSTA) has launched the website for the 2021 China International Seed Trade Show, scheduled to be held on 3-5 March, 2021 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center, held in conjunction with the 22nd China International Agrochemical & Crop Protection Exhibition (CAC). More details here
Posted on CISTS website on August 19
In July this year, #China’s #soybean imports broke 10 million tons, reaching 10.091 million tons. So far, the cumulative soybean imports from January to July this year have reached 55.135 million tons, an increase of 17.7% year-on-year.
According to the current import rate, it is expected that China's soybean imports for the whole year are expected to return to the position of over 95 million tons and hit a record high. The last time China's soybean imports exceeded 95 million tons was in 2017, when soybean imports reached a record 95.53 million tons. (Source: 中华粮网)
2020-2021 recommended rapeseed varieties announced in Chongqing
The Chongqing Crop Variety Approval Committee has announced its recommendations for a total of 12 varieties to be planted in the 2020-2021 cropping cycle. The detailed list and recommendations in Chinese language can be downloaded from this website
Payang paddy planting commences with relief seeds as floodwaters recede
Planting of paddy crops has commenced, as reported by one account here in the Xibianhu Village, Lefeng Town of Poyang County. Recent floods had submerged the rice crop and the government responded by disaster relief seeds to help locals resume production. The county has allocated 3 million catties (about 1,500 tonnes) of disaster relief paddy seeds, of which 1.8 million catties (900 tonnes) had been distributed already 
Paddy pollination commences in Jianing County
AUGUST 5: In the Fengyuan Village, Xikou Town, Jianning County, paddy pollination period has commenced, reports this Chinese News. Jianning County is one China's main rice seed production bases and the largest county-level seed production base in the country. The annual seed production area is carried out on more than 145,000 mu (9,666.6 hectares) outputting more than 32 million kg of of high-quality commercial seeds.
Trial of drought-tolerant soybean variety in Shandong midway
A high-quality drought-resistant soybean variety, “Yundou 101” is being trialled in a demonstration area of 300 acres in Yuncheng and Xihang countries. This article highlights an mid-cycle inspection carried out on August 10 by the Section Chief of the Variety Section of the Shandong Provincial Seed Station
Guizhou forage seed procurement winning bidders announced
The Bureau of Animal Husbandry, Fisheries Development and collaborators have announced the results for the bidding for "Forage Seed Procurement Project of Guiyang Agriculture and Rural Bureau in 2020 ", with a total of five companies invited to bid. Results of the bid are published here.
Seeds dominate sales volume on Hunan ecommerce platform
According to data released on August 12 by Hunan agricultural e-commerce platform in the first half of 2020, Hunan’s agricultural B2B e-commerce transaction volumes increased by 280% year- on-year, with sales volume having increased significantly.
Among the best performing categories were seeds and seedlings, seedlings, flowers and plants, with sales of seeds and seedlings accounting for nearly 20% of total sales revenue of the e-commerce platforms. In terms of regions, agricultural B2B e-commerce sales in Huaihua, Loudi, Hengyang, Zhuzhou, and Changsha in Hunan increased significantly, respectively growing by 1531%, 10212%, 504%, 440%, and 374% over  the same period last year. More details here.
Boosting the hybrid rice seed production industry in Youxi County
Since in 2017, officials of Youxi County  (Sanming, Fujian) have been extending support to seed production companies in the form of “reward” incentives, which vary depending on the size of the seed production area. As a result, the area in the country under hybrid rice seed production has now grown to some 10,000 mu (666.6 hectares). This year, a "Rice (seed production) employer liability insurance plan" or "Golden Agricultural Insurance" was introduced to insure the disability accidents that occur in the process of farming by large households with more than 30 acres or their employed field farmers. Also this year, a seed inspection and testing laboratory with an area of 232.12m2 is being built, and will facilitate sample testing for seed purity, moisture content and germination rate. In the future, it will be able to independently complete the tasks of seed quality supervision and spot check and market inspections, which will strengthen the supervision and management of seed production bases and sales market supervision and management. More details here
Raising awareness about IP Infringement, other ag evils in Guangdong
Jiangmen City officials on August 13 held an event as part of a campaign to raise awareness about and thus combat illegal practices in Guangdong’s agricultural sector. Held at the Cultural Square of Magang Town in Kaiping City, the event brought together dozens of agricultural production and operation entities, which set up stalls, and attracted more than 600 locals. Distributed were publicity materials, including information on agricultural laws and regulations, agricultural science and technology knowledge. Experts were on hand to answer questions about laws and regulations regarding illegal and inferior products, and the ins and outs of intellectual property rights. More information in Chinese here.
Early rice planting in Zhejiang up by 8%
A total of 17 new early rice varieties were recently exhibited during an exhibition in Shangyu and Yuyao of Zhejiang Province. The varieties were independently selected and bred by scientific research and breeding units or seed companies in the province. According to figures cited in a Chinese language article on Finance Sina, the province’s main early indica varieties were planted across 1.537 million mu (102,466.6 hectares, which represents an increase of 8.1% over last year’s planting in the province. 
Undeclared cabbage seeds intercepted by Dalian Customs
Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport Customs have seized 15 bags of undeclared cabbage seeds that were detected in the luggage of incoming passengers who had travelled from Japan. The weight of the seeds was 19.8 kilograms. The seeds were detected during routine inspection and were identified by a label that read “Wild Sawa cabbage”. According to the passenger involved, the seeds came from Nagano Prefecture, Japan, and the seeds were intended as gifts for relatives and friends. Dalian Customs has issued a statement to remind the public that soil, seeds, seedlings and other plant materials with reproductive capacity are prohibited from being carried or mailed into the country without declaration and a permit. 
Haidian Enforcement Inspections
Beijing’s Haidian District Agricultural Law Enforcement Brigade on July 22 conducted a comprehensive inspection of seed enterprises and institutions as well as other agricultural facilities. According to China Seed 114 website, the brigade first visited the Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and China Agricultural University to conduct on-site inspections of genetically modified chickens and ducks. Then, another group of law enforcement officers went to the Yan suburbs of Sanhe City to conduct on-site qualification verification of seed companies, where they verified compliance with registrations requirements for various instruments and equipment, while addressing issues of enterprises related to applications for seed production and operation licenses. Finally, law enforcement officers visited Shangzhuang Experimental Station of China Agricultural University to inspect and provide guidance on artificial pollination of genetically modified corn. Chinese news here.
Wild plant seed bank in Kunming 
China’s Southwest Wildlife Germplasm Bank of China  in Heilongtan, Kunming recently processed a batch of newly collected plant seeds, adding 27 new species to its seed bank. At present, 82,746 seeds of various wild plants have been collected and stored at the bank These cover 10,285 species, accounting for 35% of the total number of seed plants in China. In addition to the seeds, other plant genetic material is also collected, imaged and catalogued to ensure accuracy and traceability of resources. After processing, the seeds are stored at minus 20°C for long-term preservation. Chinese news here.
Gansu seed exports up 44% in first half of 2020 
Lanzhou Customs reports Chinese media, that Gansu Province in the first six months of the year exported 1,233 tons of seeds, worth 20.3 million US dollars, representing year-on-year increases of 44% and 43.7%, respectively. The report notes that a lot of  tomato and cucumber seeds worth US$140,000, produced by Jiuquan Tuoyuan Agricultural Co., Ltd.(Topsource Seed Company) had just passed an inspection by Jiuquan Customs, and were successfully exported to Latvia.
Yasheng Group to invest in new seed company subsidiary
Yasheng Group has announced plans to invest 120 million yuan (US$17.1 million) to establish Gansu Yasheng Seed Industry Co., Ltd. as its new subsidiary. According to Sina Finance, the new company’s business scope will include the production and processing of various crops, flowers, forage seeds, fruit tree seedlings; pesticides, fertilizers, and mulching films. See Chinese news here.
Ningxia Seed Industry Expo boosts rural revitalization’
On July 27, Chinese media attended and photographed the 7th Ningxia Seed Industry Expo,  which was held at the Taijin Seed Industry Park, a seed town in Pingluo County, Shizuishan City, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. This year’s Seed Industry Expo featured 4,000 varieties in eight categories, exhibited by 150 domestic and foreign seed companies. 
MAY 2020
Yuan Longping reveals three year vision for Hunan
STDaily Chinese news has reported on the ambitions of Yuan Longping, China’s father of hybrid rice, for increased productivity in Hunan. Speaking on May 18 at an opening ceremony for the ” Yuelu Mountain Seed Industry Innovation Center” the legendary breeder and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering said that he hoped that within three years, rice yields in Hunan would exceed 700kg per mu for the early season or reach 1,500 kg/mu for the double season. 
Chongqing issues guidelines for seed quality disputes
In order to better facilitate the enforcement and implementation of the Seed Law, Chongqing Municipality has issued guidelines on handling  disputes related to crop seed quality, and “effectively safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of seed users and operators”. The guidelines in Chinese are outlined here. 
Space mutagenesis breeding of Inner Mongolian varieties
On May 8, after 67 hours of on-orbit flight, one of China’s new-generation spacecraft research vessels returned to Earth 26 space-mutated varieties of crops sourced from Inner Mongolia, including wheat, corn, potatoes, buckwheat, oats, tomatoes, and cucumbers. The news, here in Chinese, describes space breeding as “space mutagenesis breeding”, which involves the use of spacecraft to send genetic reproductive material, such as crop seeds, tissues, and organs into space, to initiate mutations in the space environment with the intent of breeding new, superior species that are higher yielding, disease resistant and early maturing. According to the Dean of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Institute of Biotechnology, the research ship was flying in orbit at altitudes as high as 8,000 kilometers, and the craft had even passed through the Van Allen radiation belt. China has been experimenting with space breeding since at least 1987, when Chinese scientists screened crop seeds and other biological materials sent into space via satellites, followed by mutagenesis selection experiments 
Sanya secures 230kg of Brazilian corn seeds for breeding research
The “Sanya Global Animal and Plant Germplasm Resources Introduction Transit Base” has successfully cleared a 230 kg consignment of Brazilian corn seeds, reports Sina Finance. The seeds, which will be used for scientific research, enriching breeding materials, and promoting selection of new varieties, are being safeguarded at the Sanya Quarantine Nursery facility and will initially undergo ‘quarantine trials’ for a period of four months. 
Anhui’s former Seed Management head under investigation
The former head of the Seed Management General Station of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of Anhui Province is being investigated as a suspect for a “serious violation of discipline and law.” The disciplinary review is being carried out by the Lu’an City Commission for Discipline Inspection and Supervision, though no details were published of the suspected violations. 
‘Massive’ counterfeit paddy seed case to be prosecuted 
The Yinchuan City Public Security Bureau Food and Drug Environment Branch is pursuing prosecution for the suspected sale of counterfeit paddy seeds, reports China News. According to an investigation appraisal, the value of the counterfeit seeds exceeds 1.4 million yuan ($195,700). The case dates back to 2017, when the suspect established a crop seed research and development center, and procured some 9,000 kilograms of paddy seeds without the necessary permits or licenses, before allegedly contracting a major rice grower for breeding and production of paddy on some 600 acres of land. The suspect then allegedly selected, packaged and marketed the paddy seeds for commercial sale. Police have seized nearly 6,000 sacks of unsold seeds, which represent six varieties. Following tests, the seed have been denounced by the Hangzhou branch of the Ministry of Agriculture as counterfeit. The case has now been transferred to the Xingqing District People’s Procuratorate for prosecution. 
20 million yuan loan approved for seed breeding during ‘special period’ 
The Nenjiang City Sub-branch of Agricultural Development Bank has issued a loan of 20 million yuan ($2.8 million) to Heilongjiang Beidahuang Seed Industry Co., Ltd. reports Sina Finance. The funds will be used for seed production, breeding and marketing activities during this “special period of epidemic prevention and control” Details in Chinese here
Rules on seed import taxes amended
The Ministry of Finance and State Administration of Taxation has a issued a Notice on Tax Policies for Imported Seed Provenances. A number of amendments to the rules and regulations have been made “in order to further develop the effectiveness of the import tax policy and adapt to the requirements of the market economy” More details here in Chinese
APRIL 2020
Spring rice planted in Wuhan with optimism for achieving ‘normal’output
CJN News reports on the successful transplanting early in April of rice seedlings on a 20,000 mu field in the urban Huangpi district of Wuhan. According to the article, some 45,000 kilograms of seeds and more than 300 tons of fertilizer had been delivered on March 7 to enable spring planting to commence. The output is projected to match that of last year. 
Gansu flower seed exports double in Q1, Customs efforts praised
Reports in Chinese language news, here and here highlight strongflower seed exports from Gansu in the first quarter of 2020. Citing figures from Lanzhou and Jiuquan Customs of the customs, the articles note that a total of 2,932 ton of seeds, valued at 220 million yuan, were exported from the province, representing a year on year increase of 103% (volume) and 55.8% (value). Gansu is reportedly one of China’s largest vegetable and flower breeding base, where seed companies from more than 80 countries and regions around the world have established long-term and stable cooperative relations with local seed production companies. The articles highlight the effective and efficient measures of Lanzhou Customs to facilitate epidemic prevention and control, and increased convenience measures to optimize speedy customs clearance, inspection and release of declared goods.
CSA holds policy exchange meeting online:
On April 23, 2020, the Plant Variety Protection Professional Committee of the China seed Association and the International Cooperation Branch jointly held the ” China Seed Association seed Industry Policy Exchange meeting of some countries “. Mr. Jiang Xiexin, vice president and secretary-general of the China seed Association, delivered opening remarks. APSA’s Ms. Li Xiaofeng presented on the status of seed legislation and policies in the Asia-Pacific region. Representatives of eight working groups of India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Kazakhstan and Pakistan introduced seed industry policy research reports of their respective countries. The speakers also answered questions from attendees online. The online meeting was attended by around 15,000 people. The China seed Association will continue to provide good services to its members, strengthen communication with major national trade associations and government departments, and promote international cooperation in the seed industry. (Brief from Xiaonfeng Li)
Shoguang holds 21st Veg expo online:
The 21st China (Shouguang) International Vegetable Science and Technology Expo and the 2020 China (Shouguang) International Vegetable Seed Industry Expo held its opening on April 20 in Shouguang City, Shandong Province. Shouguang, which has been nicknamed the “Chinese hometown of vegetables” is an important source of vegetables for the entire country. Due to the Covid-19 situation, organizers of this year’s expo decided to hold the event online, enabling participants to participate from home using 5g-powered internet broadcasting and virtual reality technologies. According to the person in charge of the Shouguang Vegetable Expo and Seed Expo Organizing Committee, the main exhibition area this year was 450,000 square meters, and included 11 pavilions, vegetable museums and square exhibition areas. More than 2000 vegetable horticultural varieties and more than 80 planting patterns were on display. At the same time, with 270,000 square meters of new materials solar greenhouse exhibition area (Shouguang Vegetable Town), focusing on tomato, pepper, eggplant, cucumber and another eight types of crops, there were reportedly more than 4,280 varieties on display. Virtual tours of the exhibition spaces were broadcast through hi-tech means, and the high-quality produce and seeds were sold online through the official website. The 360-degree virtual expo, digital pavilion and panoramic park tour aspects were made possible through the utilization of 5G+VR technologies. The virtual “inspection” of vegetables could be carried out with the movement of fingers from one’s smart device. Another interesting aspect was the “Cloud vegetable” project, which enabled virtual guests to observe the growth of vegetables through a 24-hour slow live broadcast.According to the person in charge of Shouguang City, relying on the solid foundation of vegetable industry and the advantages of agricultural science and technology, China (Shouguang) International vegetable Science and Technology Expo has been held continuously for 20 sessions since 2000; since 2013, 11 China (Shouguang) facility vegetable variety exhibitions have been successfully held, displaying 22,335 improved vegetable varieties from all over the world, and demonstrating and promoting thousands of them every year. (Text translated by Xiaofeng Li)
Dazhu County expands spring grain planting 
Advanced preparation and close attention detail are cited as factors in the successful spring season ploughing and planting  in Dazhu county  in Sichuan Province, where planting this year reportedly expanded by 29,000 mu, with a total planting area of ​​1.297 million mu and total output touted to be 527,200 tons. Special planting efforts under certain government guidelines commenced in February, with special attention paid to seed demand and preparation, registration of farmer ’s reserve materials , and coordinating procurement and logistics; checkpoints opened with special green lanes for vehicles to deliver seeds, pesticides, fertilizers and other essential agricultural inputs. Moreover, ICT tools were promoted and utilized for marketing and distribution. By the end of March, more than 400 tons of hybrid rice seeds; 450 tons of hybrid corn seeds, in addition to 35,000 tons of chemical fertilizers, and 220 tons of pesticides were made available. It is understood that the planted area for rice in the county will expand this year by 4,000 acres, 551,299 acres, while corn area will expand by 1,000 acres to 377,600 acres.
Gangcha county spring planting commences
Spring cropping commenced in Gangca County of Qinghai province in April. The counting cropping plan includes an “improved seed breeding” project, experimental demonstrations and trials looking to increase the application of organic fertilizers,  integrated pest management and trialling of excellent varieties, as well as planting of soybean and various other crops. A total of 125,000 kilograms of various types of seeds have been prepared. News in Chinese here
Longping High-tech raise 1.7 billion CNY for seed processing upgrades
Leading hybrid rice seed company, Lonping High-tech has proposed non-public offering in order to raise 1.7 billion yuan for new seed processing production lines and various other projects and upgrades, as announced on April 8.  . The company said that with such investments, the company’s seed processing and storage capabilities, scientific research capabilities and information management capabilities will increase significantly, which is conducive to the company’s business development, internal integration and research and development.
Dongfeng County rice soaking in prep for mid-May planting
Some 6,000 kg of rice seeds have been soaked for germination, to be planted on 128 ha of rice fields in Dongfeng County of southwestern Jilin province, with the goal to be transplanted by mid-May. News in Chinese here
Louxing system of rewards, incentives for spring planting prep
The Louxing District Agricultural and Rural Bureau in Loudi, Hunan province, coordinated the relevant departments and enterprises to procure seeds, seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides and other agricultural inputs, as reported in this article in Chinese, which notes that 69 agricultural shops are operational. The efforts, which include rewards, incentives and penalties to attain targets, have resulted in accumulation of a total of 7,400 tons of fertilizer, 212 tons of seeds and 132 tons of pesticides to meet district planting needs. 
Taonan City Spring planting
This article provides a comprehensive update of planting prep in Taonan City. The  bottom line is the city has prepared 42 tons of seeds, 6,000 tons of chemical fertilizer, four tons of pesticides, in addition to 220,000 cubic meters of farm fertilizer. 
Yongchun county spring planting 
In Yongchun county in western Quanzhou city of southern Fujian province, preparation for spring cultivation was successful. Efforts secured a total of 100,000 kilograms of rice seeds, 11,700 tons of fertilizers and 3,800 tons of pesticides. Rice has been planted, with a total 41,200 kilograms of rice seeds sown, with the seedlings aimed to be transplanted on 54,800 acres. 
Amaranth lucrative in Luzhou City
A kilogram of amaranth currently sells on the local market for 8 yuan, with one acre of amaranth able to yield some farmers 5,000 yuan in two months.. This article in Chinese suggests methods to improve yields, including sowing the seeds densely, and the average amount of seeds used per acre suggested to be 4 kg. 
Tibet barley projections
According to the Agriculture and Rural Office of the Autonomous Region via this article, planting of barley in the region is planned for 2.15 million mu this year, an increase of 8,900 mu from 2019, and is expected to yield 800,000 tons.
Shanghai customs detects dwarf mosaic virus in maize seed shipment reports on the detection by Shanghai Customs inspection team at Pudong International Airport Customs of maize dwarf mosaic virus in a 3.92 tonne shipment of corn seeds, reportedly originating in Chile. The virus is said to be one of the causes of maize dwarf mosaic disease, another one being sugarcane mosaic virus. After the detection was confirmed by Shanghai Customs Animal and Plant and Food Inspection and Quarantine Technology Center, and further reviewed by experts from China Agricultural University and other units, the seeds were destroyed. 
Mengla officials crack down on illegal seeds
Inspectors at the seed management station of Mengla County in  Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture carried out special inspections of the crop seed market throughout the county. Inspectors ultimately seized 120 kg of inferior hybrid rice seeds, as well as 3,557 bags of illegal vegetable seeds. The county seed management station later initiated destruction of the confiscated seeds. Inspectors will reportedly continue with market inspections, focusing on inspection of rice, corn and vegetable seeds, at distribution outlets. More details here in Chinese.
MARCH 2020
China seed industry rallies as spring ploughing, planting & ag operations resume
The two national-level Chinese seed associations — China Seed Association (CSA) and China National Seed Trade Association (CNSTA) — have rallied members and stakeholders to cooperate in minimizing supply and market disruptions while ensuring seed supply within and to the world’s most populous country. 
As of the end of March, the China Seed Association confirmed that the situation in key areas was under control, and rapidly normalizing. The association issued a statement outlining measures carried out by government, seed companies and associations since the early stages of the outbreak to effectively ensure seed supply leading into the crucial time for spring ploughing and planting. The statement can be downloaded here
Likewise, CNSTA had also issued a statement to seed industry stakeholders (in Chinese here), calling on colleagues to take immediate action to prevent and control the pandemic. Among the key points include:
  1. Realizing the importance and urgency of the epidemic, and sparing no efforts in prevention and control.
  2. Participate in an orderly manner, at the premise of ensuring safety in carrying out work, abstaining from organizing and participating in large-scale exhibitions and marketing activities, while maintaining reasonable seed prices and ensuring smooth operations of the seed market.
  3. Improving awareness of personal protection and sanitation; seed industry colleagues should have a scientific understanding of novel coronavirus and preventive measures.
Moreover, CNSTA has joined with other agricultural products production, management and logistics enterprises and associations throughout the country to issue a joint initiative to call on everyone to maintain normal economic and social orders, ensure the stable production and market supply of agricultural products. 
Nonetheless, some Chinese seed industry events have been postponed or canceled, including the China (Shouguang) International Vegetable Seed Industry Expo, initially scheduled April 20-26, 2020 as well as the 3rd China National Seed Congress.
Sanya breeding base resumes full operations
Thousands of breeders, scientists and technicians have returned from from all over China to resume critical work at the Nanfan Scientific and Research Breeding Base in Sanya, Hainan province. Operations had ceased for a period following quarantine and isolation measurers to contain the coronavirus outbreak. According to this Xinhua article in Chinese, more than 70% of China’s new varieties of crops pass through Nanfan’s R&D fields or labs for R&D, trialing and/or evaluation.
Qingdao Seed Market resumes operations
Despite some initial logistical and supply hold-ups, seed production and operations in Qingdao resumed. Now in the peak season for peanut seed supply and demand are peanut seeds, which are now being shipped nationwide. Much of the initial logistical challenges have been addressed thanks to innovative solutions, including the use of WeChat and other online social media and channels to provide timely updates, exchange of industry information, situation and policy updates, as well as to allay concerns and answer questions about problems encountered in seed production and operations.
CNSTA donates seeds to Linxi County
Member companies of the China National Seed Trade Association (CNSTA) have donated a substantial amount of quality seeds to poor farmers in Linxi County as part of ongoing poverty alleviation efforts at the height of the crucial spring ploughing period. (original news here)
On March 20, 2020, CNSTA with the Linxi County Government of Chifeng City jointly held the “China Seed Trade Association Poverty Alleviation Seed Donation Ceremony” online. Tian Weihong, CNSTA secretary-general, along with Hu Caizhi, member of the Standing Committee of the Linxi County Committee of Chifeng City, and deputy head of the government, as well as responsible comrades from the Linxi County Poverty Alleviation Office and relevant township departments participated in the online donation ceremony, which culminated a week-long campaign in which CNSTA member companies selected and prepared quality seeds to donated to poor farmers in Linxi, and provided detailed technical cultivation instructions. Enterprises donated 19 varieties of tomatoes, peppers, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, watermelons and other vegetables and melons with a total value of 483,000 yuan.
Donating companies Jingyan Yinong (Beijing) Seed Industry Technology Co., Ltd., Syngenta Group China, Fujian Chaoda Modern Seed Industry Co., Ltd., Xuechuan Agricultural Development Co., Ltd., China Vegetable Seed Industry Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd., Beijing Jewelry Seeds Co., Ltd Relevant persons  also participated in the video conference. Liu Chunli, deputy director of the Linxi Poverty Alleviation Office, hosted the online donation ceremony.
Since last year, the CNSTA has linked up with the Linxi County Government and launched the “seed donation + technical service” project work, which has provided farmers with tangible benefits. This year, the Trade and Industry Association continued to make efforts to focus on the poor areas. Although affected by the epidemic, the inconvenience caused by the virus cannot block true feelings and love. After the Linxi County government requested the donation of seeds, the Association launched the “Proposal of Action on ‘Anti-epidemic Situation, Grasping Spring Plowing, and Helping the Poverty Alleviation Campaign'” to seed companies for the first time, which received a positive response from enterprises.
Secretary-General Tian also stated that participating in poverty alleviation is the social responsibility and obligation of the association. After the situation is stable, the association will continue to provide follow-up training services for farmers to ensure that good seeds yield good profits, she added. 
More spring ploughing, planting seed security updates
  • Ag operations, seed supply resumed in late February: Wuhu City (story in Chinese)
  • Emergency funding flows to ensure spring seeds in Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (news in Chinese
  • Fujian on track for spring ploughing, March with adequate seed and farm input supply (details in Chinese)
  • Liaoning has sufficient rice, maize and soybean seeds for spring planting (news in Chinese)
  • Harbin ready for spring ploughing (news in China)
  • Jiangsu provincial seed regulations in effect from March 1 (news in China)
  • Xiangfang Farmers get donated maize seeds, fertilizer:  Heilongjiang Seed Wholesale Market reps have donated maize seed and fertilizer to farmers in Xiangfang District, with total value of more than 380,000 yuan, benefiting farmland  spanning ​​4,700 acres of arable land. The donated seeds have high yield and are suitable for the growth of Northeast China (news in China)
Introducing China’s Credit Key Companies — Tops in Chinese Seed
As credit is the life-blood of business the Chinese Seed Association has, since 2011, introduced a system whereby seed entrepreneurs and established firms can construct a reliable credit rating that can be referenced by investors, banks and farmers alike. These credit ratings cover in their assessment comprehensive quality, competitiveness, management, credit records, and finance; while comprehending along the way corporate culture; quality controls; random inspections; corporate honor — transaction and credit records of companies and their senior managers; quality inspection records; evaluation by industry professionals; consumer comments; and social responsibility records. A full explanation of the credit system will be featured in Asian Seed, Volume 26, Q1 edition, out in March 2020. Meanwhile download the full list of rated seed companies here.
China seed industry rallies to overcome COVID-19
Following the outbreak of the latest coronavirus strain (COVID-19), the Chinese government has taken swift and stringent actions to contain the epidemic, and mitigate its impact on industry, trade and the movement of valuable commodities — especially seeds. These include a number of measures and mechanisms being carried out nationwide to mobilize valuable resources. Accordingly, the China Seed Association (CSA) has actively participated in epidemic prevention and control to ensure sufficient supply of sowing seeds. According to a statement issued by CSA, efforts thus far include the drafting of a seed industry guidelines, aide fundraising, data and information collection, and maintaining direct contact with key China seed industry stakeholders to facilitate the flow and exchange of new (and correct) information and updates. As of February 14, CSA members and other reps of seed enterprises had raised the equivalent of about US$ 8.6 million dollar. Questionnaires, which were distributed to reps from 1,452 seed enterprises, identified specific challenges, including those related to seed demand processing, distribution and marketing. This questionnaire provides a basis for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) to rally and coordinate with relevant departments so as to resolve challenges in a timely manner. For more information, updates and questions, please contact the China Seed Association Secretariat directly, via email 
MARA announces “Key points plan of China seed industry in 2020”
According to an announcement published February 21 by the General Office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) and authored by the Rural Department of Seed Industry Management Division, MARA will continue to emphasize “the important role of the seed industry in ensuring food security and effective supply of important agricultural products”. The announcement lists various mechanisms and strategies to develop, promote, maintain and protect the seed industry. These include the strengthening and promotion of varietal and intellectual property rights, excellent germplasm resources and technologies that support varietal development, innovation, registration and protection. See full announcement in Chinese here as well as key points translated into English by the China Seed Association. 
Ample seed supply in Heilongjiang
DBW China reports on stringent efforts in Heilongjiang Province to ensure secure and sufficient food and agricultural supply lines in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the article, the Heilongjiang Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has affirmed that the province has ample supply of crop seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and other materials, including meat, vegetables and dairy products. Accordingly, officials have affirmed availability of 1.257 million tonnes of “main crop” seeds, in addition to about 2 million tons of fertilizer, 9,000 tons of pesticides and 252,000 agricultural machinery items.
Fall Armyworm hits Sichuan wheat fields
Reuters on February 7 reported that the fall armyworm has hit at least 2,561 mu (170.7 hectares) of wheat crops in the southwestern Chinese province since December last year. According to the article, the destructive pest has impacted more than a million hectares of crops in China, mainly sugarcane and corn, and could possibly spread to 8 million hectares if not controlled. 
GM maize, soybean & cotton varieties get biosafety clearance 
China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has (MARA) has granted biosafety certificates for 192 genetically-modified (GM) crops, in addition to 10 GM organisms categorized as viruses or bacteria; In addition, MARA has renewed the respective certificates for 79 previously-approved GM cotton varieties. The news, announced on the MARA website on January 21, follows a period for public comments after MARA on December 30, 2019 published the list of new GM-crops under consideration for biosafety certificates, required before cultivated domestically, and eventually commercialized. This represents a major biotechnology benchmark in the world’s most populous country. The new certificates were issued for 189 cotton, two maize and one soya GM varieties, while renewed certificates were exclusively for GM-cotton varieties. The soybean variety is an herbacide-tolerant SHZD32-01, developed by Shanghai Jiaotong University, while the two maize varieties include an insect-resistant DBN9936 developed by Beijing Dabeinong Biotechnology Co Ltd  and a stacked trait insect-resistant & herbicide-tolerant IR/HT 12-5 corn developed jointly by Hangzhou Ruidun Technology Co.,LTD and Zhejiang University. See also this article on and this post by the South Asia Biotechnology Centre.
Scientists utilize CRISPR-Cas9 to enhance rice breeding potential
Researchers  from the China National Rice Research Institute in Hangzhou have demonstrated how gene-editing can effectively improve or enhance rice breeding material, documented in two papers published in December 2019.  In the first example, scientists used CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing techniques, the scientists developed and analyzed a number of promising semi-dwarf mutants from the Kasalath and TeTePu (TTP) landraces, Targeting two genes — Semi-dwarf 1 (SD1) and Photoperiod-sensitivity-5 (SE5) — the research outlines how scientists were able to improve, enhance, inhibit or induce key traits linked to increased productivity, including resistance to lodging and rice blast; improved utilization of nitrogen; early flowering for shorter cultivation cycle; as well as improved seed dormancy to mitigate premature germination during harvest periods with high temperatures and wet conditions.  Their research and results were published in Nature.
In the second example, researchers, also from the China National Rice Research Institute, Hangzhou, believe they have identified a gene that influences sugar metabolism and salinity tolerance. Using CRISPR-Cas9 to create mutant rice lines, the researchers observed that by knocking-out or mutating FLN2, a gene which encodes fructokinase-like protein2, the rice became much more susceptible to salinity stress. The research is published in Biomolecules