Global Agriculture

China aims high in agricultural sci-tech innovation

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14 January 2022, Beijing: China is striving to beef up its innovation capacity in agricultural science and technology to further safeguard food security of the country, according to a five-year development guideline of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) released on Jan 12. 

The CAAS aims to achieve breakthroughs that can help improve grain yield, self-sufficiency of oil-bearing crops such as soybeans, and the utilization rate of irrigation water, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides. 

China also needs self-developed technologies to reduce dependence on the import of some crops, livestock, and poultry varieties, said the CAAS. 

The guideline focuses on major fields such as seeds, cultivated land, agricultural machinery, and bio-safety. It calls for boosting the construction of new key laboratories, a grain crop science center, a molecular design breeding center, a national crop germplasm resource bank, a livestock and poultry bank, and an agricultural microorganism bank. 

Wu Kongming, president of the CAAS, noted that China basically stands on its own feet in the field of agricultural science and technology, but lags behind some leading developed countries. 

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China still lacks significant achievements in areas of modern biotechnology such as genome-wide selection, gene editing and synthetic biology, as well as in emerging information-technology fields such as the Internet of Things, big data, blockchain and artificial intelligence, and their application in agriculture, Wu said. 

In addition, the country’s grain-crop yield is at a relatively low level, so it is urgent to advance technical research on increasing yields, he said. 

Wu called for efforts to build a national agricultural science and technology innovation center, strengthen original and independent innovation, explore new frontier fields, and achieve world-class scientific discoveries and major breakthroughs in key technologies. 

The CAAS will focus on seeds, cultivated land, agricultural machinery and equipment, and agricultural biosafety, and promote the trial of transgenic industrialization, aiming to support high-quality development with high-quality science and technology, he noted. 

Wu also stressed strengthening international cooperation, including the Belt and Road cooperation, in agricultural science and technology. 

The CAAS will accelerate international cooperation in the areas of disease prevention and control in both animals and plants, as well as biotechnology, he said. 

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