For agriculture, seeds are the”mother of agriculture”, and for the country, seeds are an important bargaining chip to ensure national food security. Liu Yonghao, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and chairman of the New Hope Group, believes that China should”pay attention to breeding as much as it attaches importance to chips.”
Starting today, the Caijing Program Center has launched a special program”Long Yang Talks about the Two Sessions”. The first episode of the program focuses on the seeds.
Little Seed, Big Future
Kiwifruit from New Zealand, about 12 yuan per piece, and Chinese native kiwi, about 2 yuan per piece. The price of a kiwi is about 6 times that of a kiwi.
Many people have had questions:Why do they look like this when the countries they belong to are so far apart? Could it be a”brother” who has been separated for many years? That’s right, kiwis and kiwis were really one family a long time ago! Back then, the ancestors of kiwis went to New Zealand by boat from China.
More than 100 years ago, a New Zealand teacher took a kiwi fruit seed from Hubei, China, and New Zealand used this seed to cultivate a yellow-hearted kiwi fruit that tastes better, or kiwi fruit.
Nowadays, kiwifruit not only dominates 1/3 of the global market, but also sells back to China, and the price is many times higher than that of domestic kiwifruit.
The loss of germplasm resources may cause huge losses
One seed can enrich the soil and water, which shows how important the seed is to a country. But at the beginning, people did not pay much attention to protecting their own germplasm resources. In my country’s 5,000-year planting history, many species have been quietly lost overseas, such as tea, cotton, and kiwi fruit.
and strawberries have also caused quarrels between South Korea and Japan. According to Japanese public media reports, at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Japanese team members ate a very delicious strawberry in South Korea. The investigation found that this strawberry was taken from Japan by a South Korean farmer 20 years ago. The varieties have been patented.
In the interview, some South Korean farmers said:”I think this is South Korea. Although it is Japanese, it is South Korea if it is grown in South Korea.” Japanese media claimed that it caused 22 billion yen (about 1.3 billion yuan) in just five years. ) Economic loss.
The road to commercialization of small seeds
Today in the seed industry, international technology patents are an inevitable threshold. But at the end of the nineteenth century, American farmers, like their global counterparts, kept their seeds for planting.
Beginning in 1930, some agricultural companies began to develop breeding technology, improved hybrid seeds with better performance and technical patents, and sold them to farmers. Commercial seeds have become popular, and gradually monopolize all parts of the world, and the influence has also penetrated into China.
Foreign seeds are coming fiercely, and the security of domestic seed industry is worrying
In recent years, more than 70 international seed industry giants have quietly entered the Chinese market. In Shouguang, a vegetable base in northern China, the monopoly of foreign seeds in the market was once very serious. At the peak of 2008, foreign seeds accounted for more than 60%of the Shouguang market, and prices soared.
Fan Liguo, Director of the Seed Industry Development Service Center of Shouguang City, Shandong Province:The original seeds are all on the bag, on the catty, or on the two. After they came, they started selling on the grain, which was a big change.
Liu Shusen, Chairman of Sanmu Seedling Company, Shouguang City, Shandong Province:There used to be a pink tomato, a company in the United States, and the initial purchase price was 0.18 yuan a piece and 180 yuan a pack. In two years, the common people have grown well. Seeing that the common people have benefited, the company sold nearly 600 yuan a pack.
The international seed industry enters the 4.0 stage, there is a gap in biological breeding between China and foreign countries
Seeds are sold on the basis of grains, and the price rises at will. The invasion of the Chinese market by foreign seeds reflects to a certain extent that there is indeed a gap in biological breeding technology. Some key technologies and original patents are mostly mastered by multinational companies, and there is a potential danger of being controlled by others. This is also one of the key points of China’s seed industry getting stuck.
Now the global seed industry has entered the breeding 4.0 era, a new round of technological revolution marked by the integration and development of technologies such as gene editing, biological breeding, and artificial intelligence.
Fortunately, the country discovered the problems in time and rushed to catch up. Now not only the gap is gradually narrowing, but also the development path with Chinese characteristics has been taken.
The Return of the Seed of the Moon Exploring the Moon, Growing Good
On December 17, 2020, Chang’e 5, which completed the lunar exploration mission, returned to Earth. In addition to the lunar soil, it also brought back a batch of crop seeds for space travel.
40 grams of rice seeds provided by South China Agricultural University are among them. What is pleasantly surprised is that some of these seeds have sprouted soon after returning home.
Guo Tao, deputy director of the National Plant Aerospace Breeding Engineering Technology Research Center:Compared with the seeds without heaven, the germination of seeds has some stimulating effects, and the advantages are more obvious. This is also a more interesting phenomenon.
China is the first country in the world to conduct aerospace breeding research
China is the first country in the world to conduct research on space breeding. Every time it launches into space, it will bring seeds into space. Go up with a bag of seeds, turn around, and some seeds will become very good when you come back. It’s really amazing.
And we have many secret weapons, and sea rice is one of them.
The commercial operation of”sea rice” will officially start
”Sea rice” is also salt-tolerant rice. It is a rice variety that can grow along beaches and saline-alkali land without fertilization, pesticides, and short-term soaking in sea water.
On January 15, 2021, Yuan Longping’s team announced that the commercial operation of”sea rice” will be officially launched this year, and it will take 8 to 10 years to achieve the goal of 100 million acres of saline-alkali land.
Yuan Longping, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering:If this sea rice is expanded to 100 million mu, it will feed an additional 80 million people.
There are 1.5 billion mu of saline-alkali land in China. Behind the small sea rice seeds is a trillion-level industrial blueprint.
Li Jiming, Deputy Director of Research and Development of Qingdao Sea Rice Research and Development Center:Sea rice seeds are very important and must be in their own hands.
Late start, fast progress, Chinese seed industry is catching up
Germplasm resources have always been one of the focal points of international competition. The Doomsday Seed Bank in Norway, where more than 1 million plant seeds are stored worldwide. my country has a vast land and abundant resources and abundant local germplasm resources. The second largest genebank in the world is located in the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The storage capacity has reached 500,000 copies, and the future storage capacity will reach 1.5 million copies.
In terms of biological breeding, we have established three national seed breeding bases in Hainan, Gansu and Sichuan. In the past, Chinese seed companies were mostly small and scattered, and it was difficult to form a national industrial synergy. In 2016, ChemChina acquired the Swiss seed industry giant Syngenta, making China one of the top three in the global seed industry rankings. In the context of the rapid development of the domestic seed industry, today’s Shandong Shouguang has also changed the monopoly of foreign seeds.
Today’s Shouguang, Shandong, a large number of domestic vegetable breeding research and development institutions gather here. As of the end of 2019, my country’s independent research and development of vegetable varieties has reached 69.
Cucumber, cowpea and other vegetable varieties, domestic seeds account for more than 90%of the share, bid farewell to the monopoly of foreign seeds.
Gao Jianchang, Group Leader of Watermelon Genetic Breeding, Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences:The seeds of major domestic vegetable crops have reached the level of resistance to foreign companies, and in some respects even surpassed them.
At present, the area of independent selection and breeding of crops in my country accounts for more than 95%, especially the two major rations of rice and wheat are completely self-sufficient.
my country’s seed supply is guaranteed, and these have strongly supported China’s food security. For the Chinese seed industry, it is necessary to put scientific and technological self-reliance on a prominent position, and strive to make a good turn in the seed industry to ensure that Chinese bowls are filled with Chinese grains and Chinese grains use Chinese seeds.