Chinese top politicians are facing a tough bottleneck issue, how to develop China's stock of seeds and breeding animals, at the two sessions—the Chinese Communist Party's most important annual political conference from March 4 to 11.
Top PriorityDeveloping the seeds and breeding animal industries, and completing with the industries in developed countries, will be one of Xi's top priorities for the nation this spring.
Tang promised that his ministry would “work together with other related government agents to make an action plan for the seeds and breeding animals industries.
"We will try our best to achieve a major breakthrough within 10 years,” he said.
He also talked about the gap between China and developed countries in the agricultural sector.
“The corn and soybeans’ productivities of China developed seeds is only 60 percent of the imported seeds from developed countries,” Tang said. He added, “The breeding white-feather broilers’ grandparents mainly rely on importing.”
Tang claimed that China can survive without imported seeds and breeding animals, although the quality of the local products are not as good as the imported ones.
Bad SituationState-run China News Weekly reported: “China is the world’s largest pork consumer as well as pig producer. Chinese people eat 700 million pigs every year, and feed half of the pigs in the world … However, 90 percent of pigs in China are the pedigree of imported breeds.”
The report then interviewed deputy chair of CAAA Li Jinghui, who said Chinese pig breeds can’t compete with the Duroc pig from the United States, the Danish Landrace pig, or the Yorkshire pig from the United Kingdom, which China calls the “DLY” breeds.
The DLY breeds are fully grown in six months, but Chinese breeds need over a year to reach full size. They eat about 2.5 pounds of feed to gain one pound in weight, while Chinese breeds eat over four pounds of feed to gain one pound in weight. About 40 percent of the adult DLY pigs are fat, while 60 percent of Chinese breeds are fat. Consumers prefer lean meat over fat.
Unable to compete with imported breeds, Chinese domestic pig breeds are dying.
“China imported 20,000 breeding pigs in 2020, ... which make up six percent of breeding pigs in China,” China News Weekly quoted from official numbers. The remaining 94 percent of breeding pigs are mostly the offspring of the imported pigs, according to the report.
In China's breeding animals industry, pigs aren't the only animal relying on imported pedigree. Milk cows and beef cattle are also reliant on imported breeding animals.
China’s seeds for a large range of crops and vegetables rely on imports as well.
Potatoes are another example of a crop reliant on foreign stock.
Keshan county in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang Province is one of three potato capitals in China. Liaowang reported that half of the county's potato farms plant Atlantic potatoes imported from the United States.
Wheat is one of the main crops in China, which has about 4,500 years of history cultivating the grain.
“In recent years, Chinese wheat varieties haven't meet the needs of cookies and bread businesses, which need high-gluten and low-gluten,” magazine Liaowang reported Lei Zhensheng, director of the Wheat Institute at Henan Provincial Agriculture Academy as saying. “We import wheat seeds [for these needs].”
China’s vegetable business, such as white radish, broccoli, pepper, onion, carrot, tomato, spinach are all supported by imported seeds.
“The price of the imported white radish seeds is over 20 times that of local ones. But the radish looks nicer, more juicy, with less roughages, and can be stored for a long time,” Liu Kuipeng, an official from Hunan Provincial Agricultural and Rural Affairs Bureau, told Liaowang. Liu said the majority of white radish seeds in China are imported from South Korea.