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.


Q3 News

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";

Or

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

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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