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.
‘Hottest summer on record’ droughts spell concern for ag sector: August 24: Food production and thus security is threatened by what has been described by media as ‘the hottest summer on record’. This and a drought prompted four government departments to issue an urgent joint emergency notice that warned the coming autumn harvest was under “severe threat” and thus for authorities to begin employing water conservation measures, including staggered irrigation, diversion of new water sources, and cloud seeding. Source.
Nanfan shines as new Chinese ‘seed capital: August 3: The 2022 China Seed Congress and Nanfan Agricultural Silicon Valley Forum was held from July 28 to 31 in the city of Sanya, Hainan Province. Co-hosted by the MARA and nine other organizations, the Congress’s main theme and focus was about the revitalization of the Chinese seed industry, and the development of Nanfan (the name Chinese agricultural scientists use to refer to Hainan province, which literally means ‘southern breeding base’) as the ‘Agricultural Silicon Valley’ of China.
In addition to the Congress’s main forum, there were also 13 subforums, which facilitated discussions and updates on everything from germplasm utilization, IP rights, industry innovation and R&D breakthroughs to supportive measures for companies and technical capacity building, regulations and marketing activities.
Attending the Congress were more than 2,000 delegates, including officials, business executives and scholars. Representing APSA were more than a dozen entities, including
Shenzhen Seed Chamber of Commerce, hefei Fengle Seed Co., Ltd, Wuhan Qingfa-hesheng Seed Co.,Ltd, China National Seed Trade Association, Syngenta Group China, Liaoning Dongya Agricultural Development Co., Ltd, Wenzhou Shenlu Seed Co.,Ltd., Wuhan Comega Seed Co., Ltd, Sakata Seed (Suzhou) Co. Ltd., Jiyuan City Luyin Seed Co.,Ltd., Wuhan Yafei Seed Co., Ltd. and Huasheng Seed Group Co., Ltd.,
One of the highlights of the event was the signing of a framework agreement between the China Seed Association and Hainan Province,, which established Sanya as the permanent venue for the Seed Congress and Nanfan Agricultural Silicon Valley Forum. There was also an exhibition which spanned a total of 5,500 square meters, featuring the products, services, new plant varieties, technologies and achievements of about 50 major seed companies. Source.
Ag scientists, industry leaders call for R&D boost to ensure food security: July 29: Agriculture scientists and seed industry representatives participating in the China Seed Congress 2022’s main forum called for boosting efforts in research and development of crop seeds to address and mitigate food security concerns related to global food inflation, which has been linked to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the ongoing Covid-19 situation as well as extreme weather events which have had a notable impact on seed supply. The takeaway message of the forum was the need to ensure IP protection in sustainable utilization of crop germplasm resources, fostering innovation and the exchange and transfer of related breeding and production technologies. Source.
APSA reinforces importance of China to regional seed industry: July 28: Another important forum held during this year’s Congress was a meeting amongst China’s APSA (Asia and Pacific Seed Alliance). Attended by representatives from around 40 seed companies, including current and past APSA executive committee members. The objective of the meeting was to review the association’s key priorities and strategic plan, and raise awareness of the numerous benefits of APSA membership, as well as to collect feedback and suggestions on how to improve services and thus encourage and enhance participation and engagement amongst China members.
Heatwave, floods and typhoon devastate South China ag: July 23. Xinjiang province has been on alert for flash floods and mudslides reportedly a threat from increased glacial melt linked to heat waves, which also posed a threat to the cotton crop. Xinjiang accounts for production of about 20% of the world's cotton, Source. The alert follows devastating floods in June. In Yinlin, some 80 mu (5.3 hectares) of farmland was affected, and insurance claims for agricultural losses in large swathes of Guangdong, reached 328 million yuan (about $49 million) as of June 23, according to the provincial department of agriculture and rural affairs. Moreover, the situation was exasperated by Typhoon Chaba, which damaged or destroyed some, 592,000 mu (39,427.2 hectares) of rice fields. Source. .
Ningbo procurement of early-maturing paddy breeder seeds: July 20: Ningbo Huinong Technology Co., Ltd. ้ recently procured more than 30 tons of early-maturing paddy seeds as part of its activities to ensure supply throughout the region. This year, the company is cultivating the breeder seeds on 600 mu, and plans to procure 200 tons of the paddy seeds, an increase of 30 tons over last year. Source here.
Seed research center to help revitalize Pucheng breeding: July 20: A new Seed Research Center was recently inaugurated by Pucheng Muxiyuan Nutritional Food Co., Ltd. in Pucheng County. The center, which will support efforts to revitalize seed sector in the county, includes facilities to identify and evaluate germplasm resources, as well as plant breeding technology and equipment. Source here.
Typical seed sector infringement in Chongqing: July 20: The Chongqing Agricultural Comprehensive Administrative Law Enforcement Corps recently published details about typical cases seed and plant variety rights infringement, including cases of counterfeit hybrid corn seeds, sales, labeling, phytosanitary and other violations of China’s seed law. . Accordingly, concerned authorities have investigated some 20 cases, concerning the confiscation of 331.5 kilograms of seeds and penalties totaling 527,500 yuan. Source.
‘Obsessed’ rice researcher honored: July 19: He Zuhua is an agricultural scientist who was among 10 individuals to be awarded "most beautiful scientific and technological workers" in Shanghai. Specifically he was recognized for his dedication to rice seed research in China, especially in addressing rice blast which is blamed for untold losses of the staple crop every year. Working from the Songjiang Experimental Farm in suburban Songjiang District, the scientist has been described by Chinese media as obsessed with his work in pathology, and thus the food security of China. Source.
Guangxi rice, corn seed inspections pass with flying colors: July 18: From early June to mid-July 2022, 21 inspectors from the from the Guangxi Crop Seed Quality Supervision and Inspection Station in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Seed Management Station and the seed management stations of various cities in the region carried out inspections as part of the 2022 spring seed market in Ningming and Shanglin counties respectively. Sampling for purity and authenticity in rice and maize seeds was the focus of the inspections, which reported a 99.5% pass rate. Source.
Space mutated peanut and Konjac seeds planted. According to a July 14 report, about 100 peanut seeds, which had traveled in space for six months on the Shenzhou 13 manned spacecraft, were officially planted in a field in Xiaba Village, Liucheng Town, Dongyuan County. It is reported that in September 2021, seeds of the "Huodou" variety were selected from Daxiang Village, Jiantou Town, Dongyuan County and after 183 days in space were handed over for planting in June this year. Source. In related news reported on July 12: astronauts on the Shenzhou 13 returned a batch of konjac seeds selected by Fuyuan County, Qujing, Yunnan. The batch of seeds was sent back to Fuyuan County for sowing and breeding by scientific researchers. Source.
Myanmar added as TYLCV hot spot: The Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on July 4 notified the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the WPO (G/SPS/N/TPKM/588) of revisions to its "Quarantine Requirements for the Importation of Plants or Plant Products", specifically concerning Tomato yellow leaf curl virus, and Pepper chat fruit viroid in capsicum and solanum seeds.. Namely, Myanmar was added to the list of “infected areas” re. subparagraphs 43 and 45, Paragraph 1, Part B. The list already includes Thailand, Vietnam, Netherlands and Canada. See notification here.
MARA promotes GM soy and maize trials: July 20: Zeng Yande, chief agronomist and director of the Development Planning Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has announced that China's pilot projects for the industrial application of transgenic technology are advancing in an orderly manner. In June this year, the National Crop Variety Approval Committee initiated GM-soy and corn through the publication of "National Standard for the Approval of Genetically Modified Soybean Varieties, and "National Standard for the Approval of Genetically Modified Corn Varieties" notices, which has been framed as key step in the industrialization of GM soybeans and GM corn in China. Source.
Seed business excels as govt subsidizes grain farmers: May 29: The central government has reportedly allocated a 10 billion yuan fund to subdize grain farmers in the face of surging agricultural commodity prices. A number of listed seed companies have reported strong first-quarter profit reports, including Nongfa Seed, which reported a net profit of 18.99 million yuan, representing a 45-fold increase year-on-year. Particularly, the cost of soybean seeds was reported to rise, with farmers in Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Henan and other places reporting rises in price for various various grain crop seeds, including soybeans, corn, and wheat. On May 19, the State Administration of Grain and Reserves stated that the state continued to implement the minimum purchase price policy for wheat and rice in some major producing areas. Source here.
Addressing seed industry bottlenecks in Hainan: May 30: The Yazhou Bay Seed Laboratory, which is tasked with implementing national seed industry development strategies and advancing biological breeding technology, is carrying out a number of initiatives to address seed industry bottlenecks. These include the launch of 10 public and open scientific research platforms, including the Precision Design Breeding Center and the Nanfan Crop Phenotyping Research Facility. According to reports, 76 scientific research projects have been carried out, and 376 national researchers have been gathered to carry out scientific research activities in Hainan, including projects focusing on increasing hybrid rice yields, developing fall armyworm resistance, and herbicide tolerant maize. Source.
Heilongjiang cold storage expansion complete: May 29: A reconstruction and expansion project benefiting China’s only cold region crop germplasm resource bank – the Heilongjiang cold region crop germplasm resource bank – has been completed. Germplasm resources storage capacity has increased from 80,000 to 200,000 samples. The reconstruction and expansion project commenced in July 2020 and has included the expansion of medium-term bank from three to seven, and addition of short term storage, likewise. Currently, more than 50,000 germplasm resources of wild soybean, corn, rice and other crops are preserved there. Among them, more than 2,000 wild soybean resources, a national second-level key protected wild plant unique to Heilongjiang, are preserved in the resource bank, accounting for 25% of the national reserves of protected resources. Source here.
Shaanxi spring sowing update: May 27: According to the Shaanxi Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, as of May 27, 18.23 million mu of grain crops had been sown in the province this spring, or 91.61% of the target. Among this, 9.75 million mu was sown with corn, 1.85 million mu with soybean and 4.82 million mu with potato.This year, 25.65 million mu of crops are planned to be sown in Shaanxi – 19.9 million mu with spring sown grain crops. Source here.
Sichuan farmer compensated for failed corn seeds: May 26: Following a farmer complaint investigation and mediation led by the Consumer Rights Protection Committee of Ebian Yi Autonomous County, Leshan City, Sichuan Province, a villager in Songlinpo Village has been compensated for the failure of corn seeds he recently sowed on 5 acres of land. After receiving the complaint, the staff of Ebian County Consumer Committee and Ebian County Market Supervision Bureau conducted a swift investigation and convened mediation between the farmer and seed supplier, who was ordered to return 150 yuan for the purchase of seeds, as well as provide 500 yuan in punitive compensation; in addition to 1,500 yuan in compensation for sowing labor losses, RMB 1,500 for multi-planting labor, RMB 350 for transportation and fertilizers, and a one-time compensation of RMB 4,000 for the farmer, who immediately bought and planted new seeds with success. Report here.
Space seeds to be bred in Inner Mongolia: May 24: The Shenzhou 13 spacecraft successfully has returned to earth with astronauts And about 12,000 seeds that have mutated in the extreme atmosphere of space orbit. Seeds of wild barley, purple fescue and other grass species are being examined, selected and will be cultivated as part of breeding trials in Inner Mongolia, Source.
Revitalizing seed industry in wake of coronavirus, geopolitical tensions: April 27: China has expanding the number of accredited seed breeders as part of efforts to address food supply bottleneck. South China Morning Post reports that “For the first time since 2013, China has enlarged its list of state-sponsored seed breeding and production bases, adding 116 to the existing 100 hubs already operating,” citing the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. These national bases are hoped to supply more than 80 per cent of the country’s seed requirement through to 2025, which would be up from more than 70 per cent in the 2016-20 period. Following authorities issuing biosafety certificates for domestically grown GM soybean crops and two corn crops in late 2019, Beijing has accelerated approval for more varieties. In January, the agriculture ministry “laid out a clear path for seed companies to get approval for commercialisation of GM corn and soybeans. A month later it issued a document encouraging innovation in GM crop production, though foreign investors are banned from involvement in the sector . . . Though China has the most seed breeders in the world and produces the largest number of crop breeding research papers, the combined annual R&D investment of more than 7,000 Chinese seed-producing companies was only half that of German pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer . . .. “ See full article here.
China increases seed breeding, production bases: April 17: The number of national seed breeding and production bases in China has increased to 216, reports Xinhua, noting that the hubs are dedicated to breeding and production of seeds for grain, cotton, oil, and sugar, among others. In addition to “the 100 bases previously accredited, another 96 county-level areas in Heilongjiang Province, northeast China, have been identified as major national seed production bases, and 20 county-level places in Liaoning Province as regional breeding bases.. . During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), China earmarked over 5 billion yuan (about 782.5 million U.S. dollars) in support of seed production bases. They supply over 70 percent of seeds for crop production and ensure national grain security.” See original story here.
Zhenjiang seed entity inspections: March 24: Recently, the Dantu District Procuratorate of Zhenjiang City, Jiangsu Province, in accordance with the newly revised Seed Law, executed inspections of seed entities, focusing on addressing “weak areas of seed circulation supervision”, in which they visited seed retailers and rural growers in the jurisdiction, looking to stamp out illegal sales of fake or substandard seeds in compliance with the recently revised law, which took force on March 1. Source here.
Notice calls for measures for sustained coronavirus control, spring seed supply: March 24: Jilin Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued a notice to ensure the supply of crops and seeds during the epidemic. At present, Jilin Province is in preparing for the spring ploughing period, and authorities continue to carry out coronavirus control measures The notice calls for local agricultural and other concerned rural departments to take strong measures to continue to “fight the epidemic” while ensuring the success spring ploughing, including through the procurement and supply of seeds and other agricultural materials. News here.
Veg, wheat and corn planting prep in Tianjin: March 23: This year, Shuangjie Town Dehu Crop Planting Cooperative invested funds to upgrade its fruit and vegetable greenhouse base. At present, more than 850 fruit and vegetable greenhouses have been built on 1,100 mu (73.3 hectares) of land and have been gradually put into use. In addition to watermelons, farmers are also planting various other types of melons and cucurbits. Farmers have also prepared machinery, seeds and fertilizer for the wheat and corn crops to be cultivated in the Dazhangzhuang Town, where 8,500 mu of land will be sown, including more than 3,500 mu of spring wheat, and another allotment for spring corn. See source story in Chinese.
Wheat seedling R&D to bolster planting capacity in Henan: March 22: In Junxian County, Henan Province as well as other nearby places a special campaign for "strengthening seedlings by science and technology " will focus on cultivating seedlings of winter wheat, which is aimed to increase cultivation area of “first class seedlings” from 300,000 mu (20,000 ha) to 400,000 mu (26,666 ha), and for “second-class seedlings” from 450,000 mu (30,000 ha) to 500,000 mu (33,333 ha). In the Wangsizhuang Village of the county, self-propelled sprayers, seeders, harvesters and other agricultural machinery will be utilized. According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the total wheat output in Henan Province last year was 76.06 billion catties, accounting for 27.8% of the country's total wheat output. Original story here.
Beijing Seed Regulations come into force on April 1: March 21: New "Beijing Seed Regulations" were officially announced. The regulations, which take effect on April 1, focus on stimulating breeding innovation, maintaining national seed source security, food security and ecological security, promoting the construction of the seed industry capital, and promoting the self-reliance and self-reliance of the seed industry in science and technology and ensuring the “seed source is independently controllable . . . The regulations state that Beijing's seed industry has strong innovation power, but the basic theoretical research on breeding is still weak, the biological breeding technology is far from the international frontier, the integration of production, education, research and application is not closely, and the transformation efficiency of breeding scientific research results and intellectual property protection are insufficient. To this end, the regulations propose that Beijing will enhance its breeding innovation capabilities. Strengthen the main position of innovation of seed enterprises, and support enterprises integrating breeding, breeding and promotion, leading enterprises, characteristic enterprises, and specialized platforms to carry out technological innovation and international competition. Scientific research institutions and colleges and universities should focus on basic and cutting-edge research, conventional crop research, and biological breeding technology research, so as to improve the basic innovation ability of breeding” Source here.
Baoshan City spring ploughing prep and seed inspections: February 26: The current period is critical for spring ploughing and preparations, and it is also a peak period for seed sales. Hence, in the Longyang District of Baoshan City strict controls are being carried out to ensure the quality and reliability of of seed supplies. The district’s Seed Management Station has taken a strict approach to strengthened supervision including sampling and inspecting seeds for moisture, purity and germination, ensuring compliance with national standards. Reportedly, there are 47 main crop agents, 36 non-main crop agents and 376 seed retailers in Longyang District. Source story here.
Tea crops frozen in Wenzhou and Hainan: Feb 23: Cold weather and snowfall has caused havoc for many frozen tea gardens in Wenzhou, where agricultural technicians have been dispatched to higher elevations to provide guidance to tea farmers, including on using an appropriate amount of fertilization, and other measures to protect seedlings, rootstocks and plants. Source story here
Cold weather threatens nursery cropping in Hainan: February 22: Sustained low temperatures in Hainan have stunted the growth cycle of of tea crops, adversely affecting output. Reports from the green tea base of Haiken Baisha Tea Industry Co., Ltd. reveal that during the current harvest period, volume has been reduced from 6000-8000 kg/day to about 2000 kg/day, a cause for concern.. The wintry weather has caused concern for other companies, and nurseries in Hainan, where everything from rubber, coconut, garbo fruit, bergamot, betel nut, jackfruit and other seedlings were under threat, prompting cold resistance and cold protection measures, such as the construction of windproof greenhouses with enhanced air convection facilities, as well as utilizing certain drugs to improve photosynthesis and cold resistance traits of the seedlings, leaves, fruits and flowers. Source story here.
Russia resumes import of seed crops from China: February 18: According to a Russian media report, from February 20, Russia would resume permitting the import of certain seed crops from China. The resumption follows the suspension in the third quarter of 2019 citing plant quarantine and phytosanitary reasons. Source story here.
Sichuan seed supply update: February 15: Just after the Spring Festival, the province's soybean seed preparation has been carried out continuously, with soybean seeds getting special focus. On February 10, the province's soybean seed source scheduling meeting required all localities to release soybean seed source information in a timely manner, strengthen supply and demand scheduling, and speed up the progress of seed preparation.The province will add 3.1 million mu of soybean and corn intercropping technical tasks, and the guarantee of seed supply has been emphasized. Unlike seeds for grain crops such as hybrid rice and hybrid corn, soybean seeds are saved by more than 80% of farmers in the province, where planting area is currently reported to be about 13,000 mu. More details in original source story here.
China Seed Conference & Nanfan Silcon Valley Forum: The 2022 China Seed Conference and Nanfan Silicon Valley Forum was held in Sanya for three days starting March 19. The theme was "China Seed Industry Revitalization, Nanfan Silicon Valley Rise", with 1 main forum, 13 sub-forums and 100 forums. Focus was on attracting talents for the construction of "Southern Silicon Valley" hub for seed R&D and breeding base. See promo here.
China gene-editing guidelines provide path for commercialization: February 18: APSA’s Standing Committee for International Trade and Quarantine (SC ITQ) is deliberating with Chinese and international counterparts to determine how application of, and access to new breeding technologies in the world’s largest seed market will be impacted by new Genome Editing Guidelines. Announced on 24 January by the country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affair (MARA, the new guidelines, which categorize gene-edited products as a subcategory of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), may finally afford developers a clear pathway to commercialization, requiring companies to submit full biotech data: technology used; edits, transformations; and effects. Seed companies submit PCR assay results along with applications. Production certificates are applied for after pilot trials, reducing approval time from 5-6 years to 1-2 years. China leads all nations in agricultural gene-editing with roughly 75% of patents. Motivating the guide’s publication is desire to support domestic research -- though “Chinese-foreign contractual joint ventures, Chinese-foreign equity joint ventures, or wholly foreign-owned enterprises engaged in gene-edited plant research and testing within [China]” are covered in the text. However, keeping gene-edited crops under GMOs (so requiring biosafety certificates) suggests imports will be held in check. Meanwhile, MARA held no public consultation and has not requested comments, despite a lack of clarity on various aspecfts (e.g.: detection methods, definitions, timelines, etc, not in line with other nations’ regulatory frameworks). Implementation is at the state council level, under the GMO Office, with many -- often challenging -- procedures in place. Suggestions should be made to the ISF and APSA preliminary to discussions with MARA. A more comprehensive review of the guidelines, and their potential implications for seed R&D and trade in the region will be covered in the upcoming Q1 issue of Asian Seed and Planting Material, out at the end of March 2022. Meanwhile see also, China’s take on new breeding techniques and GM crops, and its implication | IHS Markit
China government prioritizes seed industry: February. 23: Xinhua reports that Chinese authorities have pledged vigorous efforts to make technological breakthroughs in the seed sector and galvanize its development as the country continues to push forward rural vitalization. Citing the newly-unveiled "No. 1 central document," the first policy statement released by China's central authorities this year, the country has outlined seed industry development as one of its policy priorities, with specific moves such as implementing an action plan on seed industry, promoting germplasm collection and enhancing intellectual property (IP) protection in the sector. Read more on state publicity news here.
Planting, cropping update: February 23: Planting of the 2022 main winter wheat crop, accounting for more than 90 percent of annual wheat production, completed in October and harvesting is expected to start in May. Estimates suggest the area planted is greater than the previous average. Increases in planted area were reported in the important wheat producing provinces of Hebei, Henan, Shandong and Jiangsu. Weather conditions have been favorable since last September, supporting planting activities and germination. Currently, wheat remains mostly dormant in the north, though tillers and jointing are apparent in eastern and central areas. According to field assessment reports, as of late January 2022, wheat crop conditions and soil
moisture were near average in the main producing areas. The minor spring wheat crop is planted from March onwards. Cereal production was above average in 2021. 2021 cropping concluded last November. Aggregate cereal production is estimated at 632 million tonnes (above average), mostly owing to increased maize and wheat production. Increases reflect expansion in area planted, mostly prompted by high domestic prices. Source:
Hunan ready for hybrid rice planting: February 21: With the coming of rain and sun, spring plowing looms. Hunan Yahua Seed’s one million kilograms of hybrid early rice seeds have been distributed to households, ready for planting; Longping Hi-Tech is still distributing seeds; and Zhuzhou Youxian Dadi Seed Industry Co., Ltd. has 150,000 kilograms of early rice seeds, put in storage a few years ago, ready to go in the ground. Strict controls at the provincial level, deployed in advance and scientifically guided, ensure no mildew or other adversities affect crops. Presently, the province has 53.759 million kilograms of early rice seed in reserve, a year-on-year increase of 19.29%, more than enough to meet demand. Source:
Spring planting underway in Menghai: February 22: Menghai County in Yunnan Province will plant 100,000 mu (1 mu = 0.165 acre, or 666.5 square metres) of grains in winter and spring. To complete planting on schedule, the county assigned each township specific measures -- such as crop planting technical training or regular on-the-spot guidance – to carry out. Menghai County is cultivating more than 35,000 mu of early rice, more than 14,000 of fresh corn, and more than 3,000 of potatoes. Source:
Blizzards affect agriculture in South China: February 22: Sleet or snow occurred on 22nd Feb in parts of Guizhou, Guangxi, Jiangxi, Hunan, Yunnan and other southern provinces, causing disasters affecting transportation, electricity, and agricultural production. In Guizhou, light snow or sleet occurred in 77 counties; snow in 72 urban areas; and heavy snow in some areas. Snow thickness in Wanshan District of Tongren City reached 12 cm. Guizhou’s Provincial Meteorological Bureau adjusted the Emergency Response level for freezing weather from Grade IV to Grade III. At 7.00 AM, 200 35kV lines of the Guizhou Power Grid Company were covered with ice. 13,574 emergency repair personnel, 5,043 vehicles, 18 generator vehicles and 144 generators were dispatched to carry out de-icing. Meanwhile, light to moderate rain occurred in most parts of Guangxi from February 18, with heavy rain in some areas, and freezing, icy roads or sleet in some mountainous areas of northern Guangxi, causing disastrous freezing in 45 counties and 13 cities. Crop area affected was 1,366.45 hectares. Population affected amounted to 58,282. Source:
China Seed Law Amendment effective March 1: 27 January: The latest amendment to China’s Seed Law, which was confirmed at the end of 2021, is set to strengthen protection of new plant variety owner rights while establishing an EDV system (with varieties listed in the law). Increased infringement penalties obtain throughout; positive encouragement is afforded original innovation. New Plant Variety Protection (PVP) revisions include punishment, indemnity and full-chain protection of new plant varieties and germplasm resources. Production, reproduction, processing for reproduction, promise to sell, sale, import, export and storage are covered, thereby solving practical problems related to infringement. Where losses are determined, the upper limit of court-imposed compensation rises from three to five times; if indeterminate, it rises from 3 million to 5 million yuan. Fake seeds incur penalties from 10 to 20 times right-holders' losses, and violators face prison; they must also indemnify right holders for legal costs. Chinese breeders have largely restricted themselves to popular varieties and core parents, resulting in narrow genetic bases, with more approved varieties but fewer breakthroughs. It is expected the EDV system will restrict varieties highly similar to core parents: the total number of varieties approved thus will be greatly vetted, intellectual property rights better protected and innovation promoted. The new law is effective March 1. A full review of the Seed Law will be featured in Asian Seed Magazines quarterly regulatory review, out in March. For Chinese summary see here, as well as, a translation of the amendment published by the United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service here.
Heilongjiang Soybean and Maize GMs Approved for Production: 12 January: After a near ten-year food and environmental safety assessment, genetically modified corn and soybean harvested in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province have been approved for commerce. GMs resist pests, tolerate herbicides and drought better than non-GMs; they tend to better quality at lower cost. With Heilongjiang GM soybeans, for example, 95% of weeds are cleared in one herbicide spraying, reducing costs by 50% and increasing yield by 12%. GM Maize resistance to Fall Army Worm is 85 - 95% (without pesticide) and yields increase 6.7 to 10.7%. Decreased use of pesticides is an environmental boon: no negative effects are reported on beneficial insects and soil quality. Four Chinese GM maize and three GM soybean varieties now have safety certificates, and are competitive on the world market. Officials say GMs “will break the bottleneck of agricultural production” in China. More details here.
Further Development of Corn Seed Breeding and Processing Bases in Ganzhou District: January 5: Ganzhou District chiefs expect to build a "bigger, stronger, first-class" seed industry by taking advantage of resources and state incentives. The district, in Western China's Gansu Province, on the border of Inner Mongolia, is already the largest hybrid maize seed production base in China, and home to seed industry leaders Ganzhou Henderson Limagland, Gansu Longping Hi-Tech, and Zhangye Denghai. Local leaders toured those companies and listened to relevant work reports at a subsequent forum, where it was announced that the seed industry may be turned round by seizing strategic opportunities offered by the state. The corn seed breeding and processing base, it was said, is being built into a high-quality industrial cluster with value topping 10 billion yuan. More details in Chinese here.
Non-Major crops list for Sichuan Province announced: January 5: The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has released the latest list of approved crops in Sichuan province, in southwest China. According to Chinese regulations, crops cannot be promoted unless first registered under the national registration system, which has been implemented since August, 2017, and affords interested parties timely information necessary to conveniently make queries and use available seeds. The latest Sichuan catalog covers 23 crops and 4624 varieties: 1,279 peppers; 798 Chinese cabbage; 478 watermelons; 536 rapeseeds; 414 tomatoes; 261 Brussels sprouts; 234 cucumbers; 211 melons; 102 peas; 56 sweet potatoes; 50 peanuts; 46 sorghum; 27 potatoes; 27 tea tree varieties; 20 stem mustards; 19 grapes; 18 broad beans; 14 citrus; 13 peaches; 15 barley; 4 apples, 1 sugar cane, and 1 pear. Find list and announcement in Chinese here.
Two Newly Reduced Foreign Investment Negative Lists Announced: December 27: For the fifth consecutive year, China has reduced the number of items on the country’s “negative lists” (items forbidden to foreign investment): on the National Negative List, from 33 items last year to 31 in 2021; and on the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) Negative List from 30 in 2020 to 27 in 2021. The new lists are effective from Jan 1, 2022 and afford investors wider latitude in doing business. The announcement came in a joint release from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Commerce. Source
China Seed Law Amended: December 24: A newly amended seed law was adopted during the closing session of the 13th National People’s Congress Standing Committee and signed into law by President Xi Jinping. Changes take effect March 2022. (APSA will update coverage of this soon. Meanwhile, find a full summary in Chinese here. Amendments were also made to the law on Civil Procedure and the Trade Union Law. New laws enacted included: one to suppress organized crime;
a wetlands protection act; revision to the law on Scientific and Technological Progress; and a law restricting noise pollution. Source
Quiantang District of Zhejiang Wins Achievement Award: December 22: Quiantang District of Zhejiang, just south of Shanghai on China’s central coast, saw year-on-year increases in 2021 of large-scale early and late rice planting areas by 25,000 mu (13.6%) and 33,000 mu (46.7%) respectively, with annual grain income at an historic high of 20 million catties (1 cattie = 0.5 kg in China). As a result, the Qiantang District Agriculture and Rural Affairs Bureau won an Outstanding Achievement award from Zhejiang Province. Success came after distribution to markets of: 30,000 kg of wheat seed; 5,800 tonnes of chemical fertilizers; more than 700 tons of pesticides; 350 tons of agricultural film; and creation of 12 “thousand-mu granary” demonstration areas (1 mu = 666.5 square metres). The District also developed an eight-dimensional evaluation system (centered on ecological contiguity, technology, yield and quality), with continuous multi-cropping in each demonstration zone stretching over a thousand acres, meanwhile promoting crop insurance for farmers: coverage increased to 97.4% of farms, totaling 84,400 mu, and premiums rose to RMB 3.4362 million, a 41.7% increase. Winter wheat plantings in the district have increased each year for the last four and now cover 30,000 mu. Source
Syngenta Acquiring Anhui Jianghuai Horticulture Seeds: December 20: In its first acquisition in China’s vegetable seed business since being established, Syngenta Group China’s China National Seed Group is taking over Anhui Jianghuai Horticulture Seeds, based at Wushan Base Park in Hefei, Anhui Province. Founded in 2002, Jianghuai specializes in breeding and sale of pumpkins, watermelons, melons, peppers, and other vegetables. Company resources include the Jianghuai Horticultural Molecular Breeding Laboratory and the Jianghuai Horticultural National Melon and Vegetable Breeding Innovation Base Germplasm Resource Bank. Germplasm resources are said to be abundant, and, after integration and coordination, will supplement Syngenta’s continuous research and development, and existing product line in harmony with the company’s “In China for China” strategy. Source.
Avian Depredations Can Amount to 20% of Wheat: December 26: Sparrows are small but they consume a considerable percentage of China’s grains -- up to 20 percent if not driven away. Although the government offers farmers a 4,500 yuan incentive to diversify plantings, and thereby reduce grain imports, many are reluctant to convert their fields: birds eat too much of the grain, with no way to control them. Farmers planting only onions, garlic, and American lettuce, on the other hand, face no such concerns as those crops sparrows do not eat. The tentative solution is to leave some post-harvest rice growing – called ‘leftovers’ -- for sparrows to peck while winter wheat is planting, and vice versa during rice planting season. Yet losses still ensue, and farmers are calling on relevant government units to pay attention and develop control methods to reduce losses. Source
Qinghai Province Reaps Near 3.5 billion Yuan From Cash Crops: December 26: In 2021, Qinghai Province, in western China on the border of Xinjiang (covering an area the size of Texas but with a population the size of Hong Kong), planted 44,700 ha to vegetables and 8,600 to fruits: output totaled 1.524 million tonnes and 158,300 tonnes respectively -- income from which is expected to reach more than 3.45 billion yuan. In addition, 251 new vegetable varieties (along with fruits and melons) are being introduced; 4,800 mu of purification and breeding bases constructed (such as the cold summer vegetable supply base in Huzhu County using solar energized greenhouses for red matsutake and other edible fungi); and characteristic Qinghai-Tibet Plateau fruits developed (such as Haidong City’s selenium-rich fruits, Xunhua’s unique Jianzha Huangguo peppers, soft and Changba pears). Thin-skinned walnuts, early pears, dajie apricots, and pear dates are cultivated at a production base in the Yellow River Basin; and cherries, life fruits, grapes and other varieties at one in the Huangshui River Basin, and another in Baili, Huangnan Prefecture. Source 1 and Source 2
5th International Import Expo to be held next November in Shanghai: The 5th edition of the CIIE is planned to be held November 5-10, 2022 in Shanghai, China. Organizers describe the expo as “the world’s first import-themed national-level exhibition”, providing ample opportunity for foreign enterprises to showcase their products and technology, access and expand in the Chinese market. The recentyly-ended 4th CIIE featured an exhibition area of 366,000 square meters, attracting over 2,900 enterprises from 127 countries and facilitating 70.72 billion US dollars worth of tentative deals for one-year purchases of goods and services. Asian Seed and APSA Events will be providing more details in the near future. Meanwhile visit the expo’s English language website here
Commercial planting of GM soybeans in China closer as grain security becomes goal: December 9: Examination and approval processes are clarified, and technical standards set for further modification of already-approved GM varieties, in draft regulations aimed at ensuring grain security in China. They also bear on safety management, and thus bring the country a step closer to introduction of GM crops. Detailed approval rules for soybean and corn were rapidly introduced in 2021 as a result of the Sino-US trade war, marking a sea change in China’s skepticism towards domestic GM cultivation. The new draft criteria were announced by the Ministry of Agriculture in early December 2021. Biosafety certificates for domestically grown GM soybeans and two corn crops were issued late in 2019, with another 12 GM corn and three GM soybean varieties from domestic brands since. China has allowed some foreign-developed GM soybeans, corn, rape, cotton and sugar beets as raw materials, but only GM cotton and papaya are commercially planted. A three-year census of germplasm resources will support biotech breeding via molecular design to produce new varieties. Source:
National Bureau of Statistics Releases 2021 Grain Output Data: December 7: Output of high-yield corn increased by 23.8 billion jins (1 jin = 500 grams) year-on-year, or 4.6%. Soybeans decreased by 6.4 billion catties (1 cattie = 500 grams) or 16.4%. Corn, meanwhile, accounted for 89.1% of grain output increase (26.7 billion catties) – thus, corn, one of China’s three staples, is driving Chinese grain production in recent years. That might change, however, as a soybean revitalization plan initiated in 2019 begins to show greater results. Source:
National Chung Hsing University and WorldVeg in research Pact: December 8: The World Vegetable Center signed an MoU with National Chung Hsing University (NCHU) centered on joint vegetable research aimed at improving human health through better diet and reducing agriculture’s environmental footprint. Ten years ago NCHU established International Agronomy Master’s and International Agribusiness Bachelor’s degree programs to recruit agricultural talent for Taiwan. More recently, the Ministry of Education’s Higher Education Deep Ploughing Program has been offered at NCHU, focused on animal, plant, and agricultural biotech. Source
Golden Sorghum in Your Glass: December 27: A contract for production and processing of pure, waxy Taiwan Golden Sorghum (Tainan No. 7 and No. 8) was signed. The contracting parties included the Gin Liquor Company, the Taiwan Local Farmers Assn, Kaoliang County and City Farmers’ Assn and the mayor of Kinmen County. Goal of the pact is establishment of a supply chain that will: increase farmers’ income; increase supply of raw material to the distillery; significantly reduce irrigation needs. Source
Investment opportunities in China seed industry: November 19: Prospect in the world’s largest market for seeds, planting material and related inputs and technologies, continue to shine bright thanks to a foreign investment friendly policy to ‘open the door even wider’. Indeed, the People’s Republic of China has doubled down on progressive reforms in recent months, years and decades to revitalize not only its domestic seed industry, but its increasingly central role in the international seed industry. This has been highlighted by considerable incentives, promotions and protections for seed and breeding research and development, innovation and operations, which center around a regime of strengthened Intellectual Property Rights, regulatory supervision and streamlined registration processes. To highlight the important updates and factors in Investment Opportunities in China, APSA, in collaboration with the China Seed Association (CSA) on November 19 co-organized a seminar with updates from both the CSA as well as the China National Seed Trade Association. Exclusively for Active APSA Members only, the seminar was moderated by CSA Vice President, Mrs Ma Shuping and inaugurated with welcome remarks from CSA Vice President and Secretary-General, Mr. Jiang Xiexin and Mr. Wichai Laocharoenpornkul, President, Asia and Pacific Seed Alliance (APSA). The first of two keynote presentations was delivered by CSA President Mr. Zhang Yanqiu who provided a comprehensive overview of development and foreign investment laws, rules and policies, both inside and outside of China’s special economic zones or free trade port areas, culminating in the latest trends and prospects in China’s up and coming ‘Silicon Valley of seeds’ in Sanya’s Nanfan, referring to the Hainan free trade port area in the south of the country.This was followed by an informative presentation from CNSTA Secretary General Ms. Tian Weihong (Alison), who provided detailed insight on seed trade import and export figures and trends, globally and within China, including on specific strategic crop categories and related factors. The seminar concluded with a lively Q&A session between experts and several dozen APSA members attending live. The seminar was recorded and can be viewed by active APSA members, who may also download presentations here.
New phyto measures for tomato, pepper seed imports: November 12: New phytosanitary measures have been announced by the General Administration of Customs, People’s Republic of China as part of efforts for the prevention of the introduction of Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus with seeds of the Solanum Lycopersicum and Capsicum spp. According to the latest notice ( No. 91), starting 1 January 2022, different additional declarations will be required for tomato and pepper seed shipments to China. The measures concern country and cultivation areas’ pest free status, field inspections, seed health testing and re-export phytosanitary certificates. Continuing on from previous WTO SPS notifications (G/SPS/N/CHN/1223, notified on 16 July 2021, and G/SPS/N/CHN/1223/Add.1, notified on 21 October 2021) the latest notification, dated 12 November 2021 imposes the following phytosanitary requirements on concerned seed shipments:
(i) If the seeds are only stored or assembled with other goods in a third country or area and are not contaminated by pests, the competent phytosanitary authority of the third country or area shall issue a Phytosanitary Certificate for re-export;
(ii) If the seeds in this consignment are contaminated by pests, the competent phytosanitary authority of the third country or area shall carry out pre-export testing and issue a Phytosanitary Certificate and state it in the additional declaration: "Prior to export, this consignment of seeds has been tested by RT-PCR (or real-time RT-PCR), and found free of ToBRFV."
See details from original notification on WTO website here.
China NPPO updates tomato, pepper seed ToBRFV phyto measures: October 19: The General Administration of Customs of People’s Republic of China has notified the World Trade Organization’s Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of an addendum (G/SPS/N/CHN/1223/Add.1) to recently-announced phytosanitary measures concerning Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV in tomato and pepper (Capsicum sp.) seeds imported into China. The latest notification, which is dated October 21, and was circulated to trading partners starting October 19, is titled “Phytosanitary requirements for importing Solanum lycopersicum L. seeds or Capsicum spp. seeds on Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV)”.The initial notification, dated 16 July (G/SPS/N/CHN/1223) outlined a new requirement for China-bound tomato and pepper seeds to be certified by the exporting NPPPO to be from a “ToBRFV pest-free area”, or to be certified free of the pathogen through field inspection and a PCR test. However, the latest notification provides that, starting 1 November, 2021 “Seeds harvested before 1 November 2021 may be exempted from field inspection requirements, and the competent phytosanitary authorities of the exporting country shall indicate in the additional declaration of the Phytosanitary Certificate that "The seeds were harvested before 1 November 2021 and are free from ToBRFV as tested by RT-PCR or real-time RT-PCR before exporting." Furthermore, the addendum includes an additional article, addressing “Requirements for Re-export”, clarifying that seeds to be re-exported to China must be accompanied with the original or certified copy of the Phytosanitary Certificate “issued by the competent phytosanitary authority of the country of origin with the corresponding additional declaration” and a Phytosanitary Certificate from the re-exporting country’s NPPO certifying that the seeds are not contaminated or infested with ToBRFV. See notification addendum here, and initial notification here.
The addendum follows productive consultative exchanges between China’s NPPO and several international seed industry representative bodies, including APSA’s Standing Committee on International Trade and Quarantine. In an August 23 letter to the NPPO signed by APSA Executive Director Dr. Kanokwan Chodchoey, clarification was sought on certain aspects of the new measures. In addition to highlighting challenges the proposed measures posed, the letter gave some recommendations on how to minimize the impacts on seed trade while ensuring China fulfills its obligations as prescribed by the respective ISPMs.
The full letter can be found on APSA’s Phytosanitary Affairs resource page here.
Seed industry advocates for international alignment in draft amendment of China Seed Law: APSA recently joined efforts with several international seed industry and plant breeding organizations to provide comments as part of the public consultation stage to review proposed amendments to China’s Seed Law.
APSA and its international associates were informed of the consultation process – which concluded September 18 -- by its associates at the China Seed Trade Association and China Seed Association, who had contributed industry comments on behalf of their respective members.
The draft amendment, which was presented on August 17 at the 30th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing, aims to strengthen the scope of Intellectual Property Rights protection. Aside from extending the scope of IPR protection to include all aspects of seed production — from breeding to sales and storage — the amendment also includes a provision to recognize Essentially Derived Varieties (EDV) in accordance with the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention.
Moreover, there is stipulation for increased punitive damages for infringement, as well as stricter phytosanitary measures for seed production of species regulated as quarantine pests. China’s Seed Law was last revised in 2015 and incorporates a 2013 plant variety protection regulation. China became a member of UPOV in 1999, and currently adheres to the 1978 convention.
Submitted to the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China on September 3, the letter was signed by representatives of the International Seed Federation, CIOPORA, Crop Life International, Euroseeds, the Asia and Pacific Seed Alliance, the African Seed Trade Association and Seed Association of the Americas, representing the interests of thousands of companies active in research, breeding, production and marketing of agricultural, horticultural, ornamental and fruit plant varieties
The letter’s authors expressed appreciation to the Chinese government for its initiative to modernize its seed regime, particularly its recognition of EDVs, besides requesting clarification and revision to a number of articles and phrases in the draft to ensure consistency and alighnment with relevant international agreements and practices, especially those concerning plant breeders rights.
For full details, read the full letter here. An unofficial English translation of the draft amendment was shared by the United States Department of Agriculture and can be found here.
Position Updates from CSA: September 16: The China Seed Association has announced a few organizational updates. Ms. Zhang Lu has been appointed as the deputy director of the Department of Members and Exhibition. CSA and APSA thank her for her efforts to promote cooperation between the two associations. In her new department, she will now lead preparations related to the China Seed Congress. Filling her position as Deputy Director, Department of Cooperation & Exchange, is Mr. Liu Xin (Max). A seed industry professional with some 17 years experience since graduating in 2004, Max previously worked with the Department Center of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs, Pioneer and the China National Seed Group Co., Ltd,
Chinese central government stresses seed industry vitalization: September 10: Asian Seed has been informed by the China Seed Association about developments in recent months, including in July when China’s president Xi Jinping stressed efforts to promote the vitalization of seed industry, which was followed by a meeting in late August, when Chinese vice premier Hu Chunhua called for solid efforts to fully implement the action plan on vitalizing the seed industry to ensure the country’s food security and initiative in agricultural modernization. “Seeds are the source of agricultural production, and China has made significant progress in developing its seed industry in recent years. However, the development foundation of the seed industry is still not solid. China would accelerate the cultivation of several superior species and continue to strengthen basic research and make breakthroughs in cutting-edge technologies”, Hu said, before calling for “nurturing a batch of modern seed companies with competitiveness, increasing the steady supply of improved seed varieties, and improving the legal system for the seed market.” Moever, CSA in September referenced an article about China’s Minister of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Tang Renjian published an article about promoting seed industry vitalization, which noted that the seed industry will be promoted through the comprehensive strengthening of the protection and utilization of germplasm resources; vigorous promotion of the innovation of seed industry; breakthroughs in cutting-edge technologies; support for the development of superior seed enterprises; development and improvement of seed industry bases; and the severe crack down on illegal activities.
China integrating electronic certification system with ePhyto solution: September 2: China has established a national electronic certification system and is in the process of making it compatible with the phytosanitary electronic certification (ePhyto) solution of the International Plant Protection Commission or IPPC. According to a September 2 article by the IPPC, and relayed here by the China National Seed Trade Association, the Chinese plant quarantine department is addressing challenges related to the actual delivery of electronic certificates, “due to the difference between the SPS version used in China's system and the network port version of other countries.” The development was revealed at the fifth meeting of the (ePhyto) industry consulting working group seminar series, hosted by the ePhyto Industry Advisory Group (IAG) to promote the use of The IPPC ePhyto solution that is beneficial to the safety of the trade of plants and agricultural products. The meeting, which was attended by 91 representatives from the government, private sector and trade association members, was presided over by Mr. Xia Jingyuan, Director of the Plant Production and Protection Division of the FAO, and formerly the Secretary-General of the IPCC. Mr Xia said that China is “basically ready for the digital exchange of phytosanitary certificates, and China's participation will be a big leap for the IPPC ePhyto solution.” not only with respect to compliance withInternational Standard for Phytosanitary Measures, but also the “WTO agreement on trade facilitation 7.9 And the key components of Article 10.1”. Also attending was Ms. Chen Ying, deputy director of the Integrated Operations Department of the General Administration of Customs of China and a Chinese member of the ePhyto steering group who gave an update on animal and plant inspection and quarantine work in China.
As of September 21, 2021, 59 countries or territories were actively exchanging ePhytos via the IPPC HUB (including 12 through GeNS); 11 of these are in the Asia-Pacific: Australia, Fiji, Hong Kong (China), Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Israel, Nepal, New Zealand, Samoa, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan (Fiji, Israel Samoa and Sri Lanka through GeNS); Furthermore, 24 were in the process of piloting ePhyto exchanges (16 through the GeNS) including four in the Asia-Pacific: People’s Republic of China, the Cook Islands, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea (the latter three through GeNS). Moreover, 18 more have registered but have not commenced exchanging, including 10 in the Asia-Pacific: Cambodia, Jordan, Malaysia, Oman, Palau, the Philippines, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu (Jordan, Oman, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu via GeNS). Source IPPC ePhyto Solution project website:
Besides, China was part of the initial ePhyto pilot with nine other countries, which commenced in October 2017 and concluded March 2018. The pilot was to validate the operation of the hub (proof of concept), validate the design, review the use of the harmonized message schema and define the costs of operation. Aside from China, other pilot countries were Argentina, the Netherlands, the US, Australia, Ecuador, New Zealand, Chile, Kenya and South Korea. See details here.
USDA unofficial translation of China Seed Law amendment draft: August 26: Following the release by China authorities of a draft amendment to the Seed Law for public comment on August 20, 2021. The United States Department of Agriculture has compile a report that provided an unofficial translation of the full text of the document. The report noted that the amendment expands intellectual property rights for new plant varieties, extends and improves the level of protection, and attempts to stimulate domestic innovation, by strengthening plant variety protections (PVP), particularly for essentially derived varieties (EDV). See USDA report and translation here. APSA and the China National Seed Trade Association provided some feedback on the draft, which is covered in Asian Seed Volume 27, Q4’s regulatory summary.
Inner Mongolia wheat varieties: Aug 21: New varieties of wheat are springing new life into the fertile fields of Inner Mongolia. "Nongmai 2", for example, is one new high-yielding, high-quality, strong-gluten spring wheat variety that promises a bumper harvest as it is shown to have stress and disease resistance, as well as good processing quality. Detailing traits and observations of this and other new varieties trialled, an article also highlights that in recent years, wheat planting area in Inner Mongolia has been around 8 million mu, accounting for about 40% of China’s spring wheat planting area. Original article here.
Seed Law Amendment submitted: Aug 20: Seed Law Amendment submitted: Aug 20: A draft amendment to China’s Seed Law that aims to strengthen the scope of Intellectual Property Rights protection was submitted at the 30th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing on August 17. Aside from extending the scope of IPR protection to include all aspects of seed production -- from breeding to sales and storage -- the amendment also includes a provision to recognize Essentially Derived Varieties in accordance with the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention. Moreover, there is stipulation for increased punitive damages for infringement, as well as stricter phytosanitary measures for seed production of species regulated as quarantine pests. China’s Seed Law was last revised in 2015 and incorporates a 2013 plant variety protection regulation. China became a member of UPOV in 1999, and currently adheres to the 1978 convention. For more details on the draft amendment, see origina here for more details on the draft amendment.
Hebei and Hubei variety exhibition evaluations: These two Chinese provinces recently organized variety exhibitions and demonstrations. August 19: Results for Hebei’s 2020-2021 winter wheat display trial evaluations have been announced. The announcement covers trial results for four main groups, including the central-south group of Hebei, Zanhuang County, Shijiazhuang City, and north of central Hebei. Various varieties were evaluated. See original story here for full details. In Hubei, guidelines for exhibiting varieties approved (registered) in the past three to five years were announced. See here for more details for Hubei varieties.
Imported hamster feed with parasitic seeds intercepted: August 19: Customs officials in Fuzhou have intercepted and destroyed 16.34 kilograms of hamster feed that contained parasitic plant seeds of species classified as plant quarantine pests. Fuzhou Customs Technology Center determined that the intercepted batch, which had been imported from the Netherlands, contained 35 kinds of plant seeds, including types of dodder of the Cuscuta genus, which is an invasive, fast-reproducing parasitic parasitic herb that can suffocate and feed off of beets, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, soybeans and and various other types of crops. Original news here.
Liaoning IP reinforcement: August 19: The Office of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of Liaoning Province recently issued a notice announcing its plan to strengthen Intellectual Property Rights protection and related processes. The notice follows the issuing of the"Notice of the General Office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on Launching Special Rectification Actions for the Protection of the Intellectual Property Rights of the Seed Industry" and includes plans to organize training activities, strengthening enforcement measures as well as streamlining administrative and IP registration and filing processes. Original news here.
Storms ravage crops: Agriculture across Chinese Taipei was adversely affected by typhoon-induced weather in August 2021:
Typhoon Lubi overview on Chinese Taipei ag damage: August 23: According to a report by the Council of Agriculture, Typhoon Lubi, which ravaged the island at the beginning of August, resulted in damage to agriculture totaling USD 52 million. The area affected encompassed over 5,900 hectares in the southern and central regions. The worst damage centered around Chiayi and Yunli counties and further south in Kaohsiung City and Pingtung county. Damaged crops include edible corn, peanuts, watermelon, cantaloupe, cantaloupe, and leafy vegetables. Livestock, poultry, and fisheries also experienced severe losses. The destruction has caused a rise in the prices of vegetables and fruits throughout the country. Original story in Chinese here
Taoyuan crop damages: August 18: Torrential rain that lasted for several days at the beginning of August caused widespread damage to crops in Taoyuan municipality and around the southern and central region. To support farmers in the affected area, the Taoyuan Council of Agriculture is providing agricultural natural disaster relief for affected farmers. A total of 32 applications have been received so far, and applications are open up to August 23. According to the regulations set forth by the Council of Agriculture, aid recipients must be engaged in agriculture and damage must equal more than 20% of total production. After submitting a request for aid the office will send staff to inspect the damage to the farmland. Original story in Chinese here
Yunlin storm damage crop Chinese Taipei: Aug 10: President Tsai Ing-wen traveled to Yunlin County on August 9, accompanied by the chairman of the Council of Agriculture, and mayor of Yunlin County, to inspect damage caused by Typhoon Lubi. The damage affecting agriculture, fisheries, and livestock in the county totaled roughly USD 8 million. In particular, peanut farmers were not only affected by damaged crops but also a lack of seeds causing high seed prices. The central government will provide natural disaster relief and low-interest loans to farmers in the county who have suffered agricultural losses. Original story in Chinese here
Zucchini yellow mosaic virus detected in Urumqi: August 19: The Urumqi Customs Technology Center, located in the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the far northwest of the People's Republic of China, has announced the detection of zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV), an aphid-borne potyvirus, in exported zucchini seeds for the first time. Announcement in Chinese here
Jiuquan seed expo: Aug 10: The 4th Jiuquan Modern Seed Industry Expo and the first Jiuquan Flower Expo were held in Jiuquan, Gansu Province on August 10. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the conference will be held through an online live broadcast and will also include offline elements. Due to its fertile soil, ample sunlight, dry climate, a large difference in day-night temperature, Jiuquan prefecture is recognized as one of the best areas for crop seed production in the world. The scale of Jiuquan seed production has continued to expand with rich germplasm resources, a strong scientific and technological foundation, breeding innovation, and an improved regulatory system leading to a number of special varieties being developed. The expo will comprise more than 4,000 varieties of 11 major crops including vegetables, flowers, sunflowers, and grains, 58 sets of seed-related agricultural machinery, and many seed industry enterprises covering the entire industry chain. Original story in Chinese here
Henan recovers from flood impacts on cropping: Aug 3: Heavy rains and disastrous flooding in Henan has resulted in human casualties and severe impacts on cropping. Henan is a major agricultural province of China, with grain output exceeded 68 million tons last year, and accounting for about one-tenth of the country's total output. As of July 29, a total of 14.5 million acres of crops, including swatches of maize and wheat crops, had been affected by the recent flooding and rain disaster. At time of press, 11.9 million mu of inundated farmland had been drained, and 150,000 mu was replanted. Full details in original news here.
Covid blamed for port congestion, rising freight: August 12: Congestion at China’s top two container ports -- Shanghai and Ningbo -- was reported to be linked to the shutdown of a container terminal at the Ningbo-Zhousan port following the detection of COVID-19 in a vaccinated employee. Vessels were being diverted, according to one report, while it was reported in another report that retailers abroad were “scrambling” due to “pressure on crumbling global supply chains”. The Ningbo-Zhoushan port reportedly handled cargo equivalent to almost 29 million containers in 2020, and its partial closure compounded Chinese shipping stress following severe disruptions at the Yantian port in Shenzhen.The Delta variant of covid is being blamed for the latest disruptions, including staff shortages, slower working practices and backlogs of cargo, prompting many companies to add “Covid contract clauses” as insurance against losses linked to stranded ships. .The China port shutdown may fuel further increases in freight rates, which have been rising as the shipping industry grapples with bottlenecks.
China notifies new ToBRFV measures for seed imports: July 16: From September 20, stricter ToBRFV phytosanitary measures will apply to tomato and pepper (Capsicum sp.) seeds imported into China. The General Administration of Customs of People’s Republic of China on July 16 informed its trading partners via the World Trade Organization’s Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures notification mechanism (G/SPS/N/CHN/1223), that:
“According to the Law of the People's Republic of China on Entry and Exit Animal and Plant Quarantine and relevant regulations of its implementation regulations, Solanum lycopersicum L. and Capsicum spp. seeds exported to China from countries or regions where ToBRFV occurs should meet the following requirements:
1. The Solanum lycopersicum L. and Capsicum spp. seeds exported to China come from ToBRFV pest free areas established according to ISPM No. 4 and officially recognized. The National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) of the exporting country shall indicate in the attached statement of the phytosanitary certificate of goods that "this batch of XX seeds comes from ToBRFV pest free area";
2. According to the official investigation, ToBRFV did not occur in the planting areas and in the growing period of Solanum lycopersicum L. and Capsicum spp. seeds exported to China. For bulk goods, at least 3,000 representative Solanum lycopersicum L. or Capsicum spp. seed samples (at least 10% for small bulk goods) were taken before export, and the seeds were detected by RT-PCR or real-time fluorescence RT-PCR for ToBRFV, and the results showed that they did not carry ToBRFV. In the additional statement of the phytosanitary certificate, it shall be stated that "the official investigation on ToBRFV has been conducted during the growing period, and ToBRFV has not occurred in the planting area. Before export, the seeds were detected by RT PCR or real-time fluorescence RT-PCR and the results showed that they did not carry ToBRFV"
See original Chinese document here:
The notification follows the General Administration of Customs of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs’ Announcement No. 413 in April which added ToBRFV to is list of imported Plant Quarantine pests, in addition to Maize dwarf mosaic virus, Candidatus, Liberibacter solanacearum Liefting et al., Otala lactea (Müller) and Euglandina rosea (Ferussac).
The China National Seed Trade Association and Asia Pacific Seed Association have reached out to China’s National Plant Protection Organization to seek clarification on certain aspects of the new measures, so as to minimize impacts on seed trade. Updates will be shared with and discussed through APSA’s Standing Committee on International Trade and Quarantine.
Typhoon strikes China NE coast: July 26: Typhoon In-Fa (locally called Yan Hua or 烟花) made landfall in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, at around 12:30 pm on Jul 25, with wind gusts reported to be as high as 136.8 kilometers per hour. The Zhejiang emergency management department called for the closure of schools, factories and markets as Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport canceled inbound and outbound flights on Sunday and Monday. It was reported that over 1.1 million residents had been relocated on July 24, while various precautionary measures were taken to minimize agriculture risks in and around Shanghai.
Henan crops, infrastructure devastated by downpours, flooding: July 22: Dozens have perished as hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops have been destroyed by floodwaters in the Chinese province of Henan. Some reports, such as this one, said it is the worst downpour in decades. According to one report as of July 22, some 73,000 residents were being evacuated as more than 215,200 hectares of crops had been destroyed, and there was a direct economic loss of about 1.22 billion yuan. Henan is reportedly one of China’s major crop production regions. Last year, the province yielded 68.26 million tons of grain, representing one-tenth of the country's total output. Nonetheless, according to another report, the heavy rain was only expected to “have a short-term impact on the production and logistics of vegetables and other agricultural products,” and would not impact output of corn, rice or wheat due the timing. According to a Chinese language report, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs stated on July 20 that 70% of the early rice planted in China had been harvested. High levels of precipitation were reported in Lushan County's Pingdingshan City, where more thann 35 square miles of crops worth $11.3 million were damaged or lost. APSA has learned that the Beijing Seed Association has called on its members to donate seeds to affected farmers including in Zhenzhou city and elsewhere.
China moon rice harvested: July 11: The first crop of "space rice" has been harvested at South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou. The rice was grown from 40 grams of rice seed that landed on the moon and returned to earth aboard the Chang'e 5 on a five-month lunar mission. The offspring of this first batch will be transplanted to rice paddies to be grown outdoors for the first time as part of China's space mutation breeding experiment. Each seed of the "space rice" is about 1 cm long with an off-white and brown body, and is expected to produce a batch of better gene sources for the selection and breeding of new high-yield and high-quality varieties. To ensure safety for consumers, the rice seeds will be developed and tested over 3 to 4 years, with the expected result of producing a 100% original Chinese new rice variety. Original story in Chinese here
MARA eases seed import burden: July 9: The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) announced on July 8 that to reform the country's seed industry, MARA has recently streamlined the approval process for the import and export of crop seeds and cancelled the provincial-level review process. Full video report in Chinese here. The revised guidelines are aimed at encouraging the introduction of germplasm resources for breeders and researchers, as well as providing an easy to follow legal compliance process. The Ministry of Finance together with the General Administration of Customs and the State Administration of Taxation also clarified that from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2025 imported seeds are exempt from import value-added tax. It is hoped that the relaxation of tax for seed imports during the period will play an important role in improving the quality, efficiency and competitiveness of the country's agriculture. Original story in Chinese here
Showcasing improved soybean varieties in Bei'an: July 8th: In the 130-hectare Bei'an Modern Agricultural Science and Technology Demonstration Park in Heilongjiang Province carried out 12 trials and demonstrations focussed on the breeding of high-protein soybean varieties. In 2021, some 13,000 hectares of high-quality farmland, 10 agricultural science and technology parks, and 4 water conservation projects will be created in the area. Read original story here
8th Ningxia Seed Industry Expo: July 8: The 8th Ningxia Seed Industry Expo will be held in Pingluo County in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region on July 26-28 at Ningxia Taijin Seed Industry Industrial Park. The expo will feature "technology, sharing, quality, integration" as the theme with online displays and live broadcasts to help companies enhance their brand and connect with customers. Highlights will include a seed industry development exchange symposium, forum, industry awards ceremony, and inspection of seed production and crop planting bases in townships in Pingluo County. The area features flat terrain, fertile soil and mineral-rich water from the Yellow River with 1.2 million acres of arable land and a complete agricultural infrastructure to develop seed production. Original story in Chinese here
Sichuan Province Announces 2021-2022 Disaster Relief and Famine Preparedness Seed Reserve Plan: July 8: To ensure the security of seeds used in agricultural production, Sichuan Province announced the province's 2021-2022 Disaster Relief and Famine Preparedness Seed Reserve Plan, which divides seed reserves into disaster relief and famine preparedness categories. Disaster relief seeds include short-growing crop varieties such as vegetables, soybeans, miscellaneous grains and beans, with a total 400,000 kilograms of seeds and the subsidies of USD 0.5 per kilogram. Famine preparedness reserve seeds include hybrid varieties of rice, corn and rapeseed with 800,000 kilograms of seeds, and a subsidy of USD 0.08 per kilogram. The reserve period will be from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022. Original story in Chinese here
Yunnan sinkhole attracts rare plant seed hunters: July 7: The Southwest China Wildlife Germplasm Bank of the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, conducted an expedition to collect and preserve the germplasm of species in the unique habitat of large sinkhole around Mengzi City in Yunnan Province. On June 17, 2021, a professional rock climbing team, assisted by drones, collected the germplasm of plants in the sinkhole to a depth of 100 meters and discovered critically endangered plant species that had not been seen for over 100 years. The Southwest China Wildlife Germplasm Bank in Yunnan is home to over 85,000 seeds from 10,601 species. Original story in Chinese here
Cold weather impacts maize planting and germination in Zhangye: July 6: Low temperatures and heavy rains this May and June have resulted in reduced germination of maize seeds in Zhangye in Gansu Province. The temperature in many northwestern provinces has been lower than in previous years, resulting in slowed germination and growth, and together with high humidity, has caused seed rot and mold. In Xinjiang, heavy rain and snow in April caused severe frost damage to crops. Original story in Chinese here
Zhangshu City Launches New Late Rice Variety Demonstrations: July 2: To promote and encourage the adoption of newly developed late rice varieties, Zhangshu Agriculture and Rural Affairs Bureau in Jiangxi Province has organised demonstrations of late rice seed preparation, seedling field selection and tillage. Original story in Chinese here
Tianjin rice selection and transplanting: June 30: Xiaozhan rice cultivation in Tianjin Municipality has grown to 67,000 hectares under cultivation, an increase of about 13,000 hectares from last year. The planting process of Xiaozhan rice uses standardized seedlings and seedling transplanting and is planted later than in other regions. Original story in Chinese here
Record rice yield in Qiongbei: June 27: The Chaoyou Qian hybrid rice planted in Lingao County of Hainan Province has set a record for Qiongbei’s highest rice yield at 13.56 tonnes per hectare. The project was led by the late Yuan Longping, often referred to as the "Father of Hybrid Rice", of the Hainan Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Cao Bing, Vice President of the Provincial Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The demonstration project aims to produce 13.5 tonnes per hectare in early cropping, 9 tonnes per hectare in late cropping, and 22.5 tonnes per hectare in double-season crops. Original story in Chinese here
China corn expo varieties: June 25: Taking place at the Tianfu Modern Seed Industry Park in Chengdu on June 24th, the 2021 China (Sichuan) Fresh Corn Conference included an exhibition of a total of 568 new fresh corn varieties. A panel of twelve industry experts conducted a comprehensive selection of the exhibited varieties that included 156 waxy corn varieties, 198 sweet and waxy corn varieties, 195 sweet corn varieties and 19 speciality varieties. The exhibition was aimed at promoting rural revitalization by encouraging the development and registration of high-quality varieties. Selection criteria included field performance, ear yield, appearance and eating quality. Zhang Yanqiu, chairman of the China Seed Association, and Xiao Xiaoyu, a member of the party group and deputy director of the Sichuan Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, issued certificates to the winners of the variety selection. Original story in Chinese here
Chongqing strengthens seed supervision: June 23: The municipality of Chongqing has launched a three-year plan to regulate and modernize its seed industry. The plan includes four parts, starting with the strict management of seed production bases, including the licensing of seed production enterprises, daily inspections of seed production bases, and cracking down on intellectual property infringements and illegal genetically modified seeds. Second is the inspection of seed companies, focussing on seed quality, packaging labels, authenticity, and genetically modified ingredients. Thirdly, the municipality will conduct spot checks at markets to inspect seed packaging labels, records and accounts, and testing seed quality and authenticity. Finally, the Chongqing municipal government will promote self-regulation amongst seed industry organizations and introduce standardization in seed production and operations of seed industry enterprises. Further, the municipal government will support industry organizations in carrying out evaluations such as variety appraisals and applying for variety registrations. Original story in Chinese here
Judiciary interpretation strengthens new variety rights: On July 5, the Supreme People's Court issued the "Several Provisions of the Supreme People's Court on the Specific Application of Legal Issues in the Trial of Disputes over Infringement of New Variety Rights in Plants (2)" Effective July 7, the new judicial interpretation has five salient aims as follows (rough translation): The first is to expand the scope of protection to cover the entire value chain, from breeding to sales, variety acquisition, storage, transportation, and processing. The second is to improve the level of protection by improving the timeliness and effectiveness of judicial procedures, issuing more punitive measures to deter infringement, as well as through benefits and compensation for breeder rights holders. The third is to reduce difficulties in the procedures to register and thus safeguard rights; the fourth is improvement of the overall legal system, clarifying scientific research exceptions and encouraging breeding innovations while preventing abuse of "farmers' privileges". The fifth is to standardize auditing and appraisal procedures. See original interpretation in Chinese language here.
Syngenta sells 20% stake in Shanghai IPO: July 3: Syngenta Group, the ChemChina-owned Swiss agrichemical company, filed an application for an initial public offering in order to raise $10 billion on the Shanghai STAR Market.The company said it planned to raise to sell up to 2.79 billion shares, or a 20% stake, via the IPO, according to the prospectus. The listing was reported to be the largest IPO globally in 2021 and the biggest ever at the two-year-old STAR Market, a Nasdaq-style tech-heavy exchange. The IPO would value Syngenta at over $50 billion. "Syngenta Group will expand and renovate its production facility and implement strategic acquisition to meet growing market needs," the company said in the prospectus. State-owned ChemChina bought Syngenta for $43 billion in 2017. Last year, ChemChina merged the Swiss company with Israel's ADAMA and the fertilizer and seed business of Sinochem, another of China's state-owned chemical firms. Syngenta employs about 49,000 in more than 100 countries, according to its website. Its four business units are: Syngenta Seeds, Syngenta Crop Protection, ADAMA and Syngenta Group China. See news here.
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 here, here and here.
Hunan Province starts construction of first batch of "seed industry towns":