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.

 

3rd China Seed Congress held in Sanya The 2021 China Seed Congress and Nanfan Agricultural Silicon Valley Forum was held 20-24 in the city of Sanya on the island province of Hainan. Co-hosted by the China Seed Association (CSA) and the Hainan Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Sanya Municipal People’s Government and Haiken Group, the main forum was organized under the theme of "the mission of seed Industry , and the future of Nanfan". Additionally there were13 sub-forums, with more than 2,000 registered participants attending. This was the third edition of the Congress, with the previous two editions held in 2018 and 2019, both in Beijing.  Full report in Q2 issue of Asian Seed Magazine. 

Spring crop market inspections nationwide: March 2: The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China recently issued a notice to conduct inspections of spring crop seed markets nationwide. The move is part of a crackdown on the production and sale of fake and inferior seeds in a bid to protect intellectual property and ensure a safe and secure seed supply. The Ministry announced that it will be focussing on the quality of rice seeds in southern China as well as inspecting imported seeds throughout the country. The government aims to accelerate agricultural modernization and to enable enterprises to integrate into the global agricultural product supply chain. Original story in Chinese here and here

Forage feed crop procurement announcement: March 2: The Pengyang County Agriculture and Rural Bureau has announced its 2021 annual high-quality forage seed government procurement of the first to third bids. Specific quotas, requirements, rules and procedural information can be found here in Chinese.

China domestic seed sector on the rise: February 2021: A CCTV News report highlights rapid progress and the rise of China’s seed industry. Accordingly, it notes that previously, the country had no seed companies that could compete with international giants, until three years ago, when the China National Chemical Corporation (ChinaChem) completed the acquisition of Swiss multinational, Syngenta for US$43 billion. Aside from this, China has continuously strengthened protection of germplasm resources. Citing data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the number of applications for new plant variety protection (PVP) has bested all other countries in recent year, while the contribution rate of improved varieties to increased grain productivity exceeds 40%. Furthermore, the article notes that the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences currently has the world's second-largest germplasm resource bank, with a collection of 520,000 germplasm resources. In the future, this number is expected to expand to to 1.5 million. The article goes on to note factors enabling China to be less dependent on imported seeds, citing an example of breeding R&D in Shouguang, Shandong, and figures from the China National Seed Trade Association, which saw China’s seed imports fall from 72,700 tons in 2018 to about 66,000 tons in 2019. See original article in Chinese here

MARA on revitalizing, strengthening seed sector: February 2021: According to statements from a Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs official, 95% of the country's planted area this year was sown with “self-selected and bred food seed varieties”. As reported on February 22 following a State Council Information Office press conference to highlight the State’s efforts to promote rural revitalization and accelerate agricultural and rural modernization, Zhang Taolin, the deputy minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said that self-selected and bred grain seed varieties account for more than 95% of the planting area. Addressing challenges in the  development of the seed industry the official pointed out various shortcomings, including those related to varieties, adding that the seed industry is ushering in a “modern biological breeding technological revolution marked by the integration and development of gene editing, synthetic biology, artificial intelligence and other technologies.”  He then laid out details from the No. 1 Central Document, which highlights five priority areas: preserving germplasm resources; independent innovation; strengthening seed industry enterprises; promoting production bases; and improving the market environment. Read full details in Chinese here.

Researcher sheds light on the importance of seeds: February 2021: Xinhuanet reporters in Beijing interviewed Dai Xiaofeng, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences about the importance of seed, including the importance of food security, how to address “bottlenecks” in the seed supply chain, and more. Read original interview in Chinese here.

CBD Conference hones in on biodiversity in Kunming: A video produced by Xinhua is promoting the upcoming United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Fifteenth Conference of the Parties, which will be held in Kunming, China on May 17. The video mentions China’s own "Noah's Ark" referring to the Wildlife Germplasm Bank of Southwest China, which is currently the largest wild plant genebank in Asia 2021. See the Xinhua video here and regarding details about the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), it will “review the achievement and delivery of the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. It is also anticipated that the final decision on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework will be taken, together with decisions on related topics including capacity building and resource mobilization. See UN event info page here

Seed sales booming ahead of spring plowing in Wuxi: February 2021: As the weather starts to warm, seed sales at markets in Wuxi County have begun to pick up, with many farmers busy buying seeds, fertilizers and other agricultural materials in anticipation for the spring planting season.  Supply of seed for corn, vegetables, rice and other crops are reportedly sufficient according to a report from the Port Seed Station in Wuxi County, where data and information about field conditions was being exchanged to ensure farmers were given appropriate inputs and advice. Original report here

Chinese Taipei new import requirements for pepper, tomato seeds: 9 February 2021: The Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu has issued an SPS (​​​​​​Sanitary and phytosanitary) notification of emergency measures to all of its trading partners, which mandates that starting from 23 February 2021, all seeds of Solanum spp. and Capsicum spp.  need to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the plant quarantine authority of the exporting country (NPPO), stating that the seeds have been laboratory certified free from four viruses and six viroids. These are Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV), Tomato mottle mosaic virus, (ToMMV), Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV), Columnea latent viroid (CLVd), Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd), Tomato apical stunt viroid (TASVd), Tomato chlorotic dwarf viroid (TCDVd), Tomato planta macho viroid (TPMVd) and Pepper chat fruit viroid (PCFVd); otherwise, the seeds will be destroyed or reshipped. This decision is based on recent detections of aforementioned.  See document here

Space breeding spurs crop productivity & profit on Earth: February 14: China is accelerating the development of aerospace and lunar based crop improvement and breeding projects. Updates reported in local media include efforts touted to increase  crop productivity on Earth drastically. The article highlights advancements in space breeding of cotton leaves, and the development of various other economically valuable crops, including “honeysuckle seeds” and a dwarf rose seedlings. Compared with ground breeding, space breeding can provide more high-quality germplasm resources in a shorter time. "The genetic mutations brought about by aerospace breeding are not targeted, so the plants will be planted in the ground and their growth will be observed, and then artificially selected mutant individuals with more prominent traits such as export perception, yield, or resistance." Research is contributing to new varieties of wheat, corn, soybeans, cotton, tomatoes, and peppers, which have been planted on ​​more than 2.4 million hectares, increasing the output of grain by approximately 1.3 billion kg, contributing to economic gains of some RMB 200 billion. Chinese report here

Taipei Organic Seedling Farm gets verified: Following the implementation of a new Organic Agriculture Promotion Law, the Committee of Agriculture Seedling Improvement and Breeding Farm (translation) has been verified by the National Chung Hsing University Agricultural Products Verification Center related to processes related to organic rice and soybean seed production. See details in Chinese here

Sea ice hinders port trade: January 2021: Trade through Chinese sea ports was being hindered due to the expansion of sea ice along the coast of Bohai Bay in the north. Marine safety authorities were reportedly on on high alert on January 12, according to reports, which noted that “an expansion of sea ice” due to “a cold wave sweeping the northern hemisphere [which] has plunged temperatures across China to their lowest in decades,” making “it tougher for ships to berth and discharge at key energy product import terminals.  Tugboats were dispatched to aid a number of vessels in northern Hebei, trapped in sea ice that was one metre thick. See report here

Shipping costs rise in face of container shortage: January 2021: A shortage of shipping containers is causing shipping costs to rise, as more delays were reported for goods coming from China. According to a report, spot freight rates for the Asia to North Europe route were 264% higher in December compared to the same month a year ago, while rates for the route from Asia to the West Coast of the United States had risen 145% year on year. Another figure quoted in the report said that spot rates had risen to $6,000 per container, compared with the “usual price” of $1,200. See original report here

Gene related to nitrogen efficiency use in rice identified: January 2021: Scientists from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have identified a gene that plays an important role in helping rice adapt to low levels of nitrogen in the soil. The findings will assist efforts to breed new crop varieties with high nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). Read more from the ISAAA here.

Two new Gm maize varieties approved by MARA: January 2021: The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has approved two genetically modified (GM) corn varieties for importation. The two varieties, developed by Bayer AG and Syngenta AG (MON87411 and MZIR098), feature  herbicide tolerance and insect resistance/ More details from ISAAA.

Based on provisions of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), authorities in the world’s most populous country aim to tackle challenges in agricultural technology and food security, announced the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs at a press briefing. As reported here, China at the moment does not face immediate risk in respect to seed supply, and is more than 95% self sufficient in a number of crops, and 100% for rice and wheat sustainability, though the country “lags behind some advanced economies in terms of agricultural technology innovation and commercial seed breeding.” 

Xinjiang seed industry prospects: January 2021: In recent years, the Xinjiang region seed industry has attached great importance to the development of the seed industry and continuously improved its capacity in breeding innovation. A Chinese article highlights various efforts to accelerate promotion and application of high-quality varieties, specifically those of  Jiushenghe Seed Industry Co., Ltd., (Join Hope Seed Industry Co., Ltd) which boasts a scientific research team of 120 personnel, and which established the Jiushenghe Research Institute in Sanya, Hainan, with a focus on breeding new wheat, corn, and cotton varieties. Read more in Chinese here

Ningbo hybrid rice strides: January 2021:Since the 1990s, a scientific research team in Ningbo with researcher Ma Rongrong as the core has overcome many world-class problems, and has successively bred 63 distinctive "Yongyou" series of hybrid rice varieties with a cumulative promotion area of ​​more than 52 million mu. The increase in rice production exceeded 4.1 billion kilograms, breaking a number of high-yield records, and making important contributions to China’s food security. Read full story in Chinese here

Sichuan gene bank underway: January 2021:
On December 31, 2020, work to establish the Sichuan Germplasm Resource Center officially began in Tianfu Modern Seed Industry Park in Qionglai City. The Sichuan Germplasm Resource Center is located in the core area of ​​Qionglai Tianfu Modern Seed Industry Park. The project covers an area of ​​about 10 acres and has a total investment of 92.23 million yuan. It is expected to be completed and put into use in 2023. After the project is completed, it will become the only provincial comprehensive germplasm resource bank in China. Read more in Chinese here

Imported seeds more expensive, but yield better: January 2021:
Citing figures from a China Seed Industry Development Report 2019, in 2018, China imported more than 72 million kilograms of crop seeds , with an import value of 475 million US dollars; of this, the country imported 228 million US dollars worth of vegetable seeds  from nearly 50 countries and regions. According to this article, the imported vegetable seeds were much more expensive than domestically produced seeds, and foreign companies controlled more than 50% of the seed market. Citing specific examples, the article points out that higher yields of high quality imported seeds bring better returns, and also goes on to highlight progress in domestic breeding activity, spanning specific examples of broccoli, cucumber, tomato and Chinese cabbage. Read full article on China Seed 114 here

Jiangsu seed and breeding base update: January 2021.
In Jiangsu province, there are not only crop breeding research centers, agricultural science and technology research centers, but also the largest domestic yew (Taxus) seedling breeding base.Recently, the "2020 Jiangsu Province Rural Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Industry Integrated Development Pilot Zones" was announced, and Wuxi Xishan District, Wuxi City's Xishan District, Wuxi City, was listed on the list. Since then, Wuxi has 4 provincial-level pilot zones for the integration of primary, secondary and tertiary industries through the establishment of various seed and seedling breeding industrial scale projects. Read the full story in Chinese here

 

2020 News

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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.  
 
AUGUST 2020
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 Huinong.com 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.
 
 
JUNE AND JULY 2020
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
Sina.com 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)
 
FEBRUARY 2020
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 zzxhma@163.com 
 
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. 
 
 
DECEMBER 2019 & JANUARY 2020
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 Agriculture.com 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