President Xi Jinping visited a seed laboratory in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province on Sunday, where he reiterated that China's grain security should be ensured with Chinese seeds. President Xi visited the Yazhou Bay Seed Laboratory to learn about seed industry innovation, according to the Xinhua News AgencyXinhua News Agency. Xi stressed the role of seeds in ensuring grain security for the world's most populous country during the inspection, according to Xinhua. China must hold seeds fast in its own hands to fill the rice bowls of the Chinese people, and to ensure the country's grain security, Xi said. He urged efforts to pursue agricultural technological breakthroughs to achieve self-dependence in the seed sector, which is a heavy task with strategic significance.
President Xi has raised this issue a number of times, shedding light on where China's seed industry is headed. China has achieved seed self sufficiency for two of its staple grains - rice and wheat. In terms of corn, the country remains partly dependent on imported seeds because the country's corn breeding capabilities still lags behind international standards, which is a staple in China.
Industry observers said that China has lags in the set-up of complete genetic resources and gene-editing technology, but China has recently made great efforts in catching up with foreign peers in the area. Technology breakthroughs in seeds were a priority according to the 1 Central Document. This is the second year that the central government has put so much emphasis on seed development, including biotech seeds. Jiao Shanwei, editor-in-chief of cngrain.com, told the Global Times on Monday that it is important to connect with downstream enterprises to participate in the study and research process to better integrate industrial applications with the research process. Chinese agricultural experts have been implementing measures and trying to study technologies such as gene technologies, but some core technologies are still controlled by foreign companies, said Jiao, noting that industrial applications have made remarkable progress over the past years thanks to government support. As for enhancing seed IP protection, Jiao noted the urgency and importance of enhancing protection for crops that have specific advantages in China such as rice, with related technologies and storage capacity for their genetics, while increasing the efficiency of these crops for future research.