Cultivating secure, stable and advanced seed varieties is key to China’s ongoing efforts to beef up food security, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which ensuring food supplies is crucial to every country.
The annual Central Economic Work Conference last month put the growth of the seed sector and establishment of seed banks high on the nation’s economic agenda for this year.
The conference designated seed protection, research and development as one of eight key economic tasks.
Empowering the seed industry was also listed as a priority in order to improve food security.
Top leaders urged intensified efforts to achieve scientific and technological breakthroughs in seed cultivation, along with the protection and utilization of genetic resources.
Following decades of sustained effort, China has successfully secured food supplies for its population, the world’s biggest. Grain production reached 670 million metric tons last year, a year-on-year increase of 0.9 percent and a record high despite the effect of COVID-19, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Wan Jianmin, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said superior crop varieties have contributed to more than 45 percent of the total increase in grain production over the past five years.
Cheng said: “Seeds are the foundation of agriculture. They are like the (computer) chip of modern agriculture and are crucially important to a country’s food security.”