Beijing is mulling a plan on building the National Seed Silicon Valley in its Tongzhou District, with the aim of fueling the development of the seed industry of both the city and China at large, a municipal agricultural official said at a seminar during the ISF World Seed Congress 2014.

“Advantageous resources at home and abroad will be clustered in the high-tech area to boost the development of a modern agriculture and modern seed industry for both city and country,” Wu Baoxin, director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Agriculture, said in a report quoted by Zhang Junmian for

“Beijing has brought a development plan for its seed industry into full swing,” Wu said. “Between 2010 and 2015, an action plan has already been implemented to turn the city into a center for S&T innovation of China’s seed industry, as well as trade and exchange in the global seed industry.”

To build the city into the “capital of seed breeding,” special funds worth more than 300 million yuan (US$48.4 million) have been allocated during this period.

In the future, R&D will focus on 16 advantageous species or varieties in the four major fields, including crop farming, livestock and poultry, aquaculture and fruit and flowers.

“Beijing leads the country in seed breeding R&D,” Wu said. “Every year, the city cultivates more than 400 new varieties of grain and vegetables and the new varieties of major crops account for about 10 percent of the national total.”

Three of China’s top ten seed companies are based in Beijing. Eight of the world’s top 10 seed companies, including Pioneer and Monsanto, have set up R&D centers or branches in the city, according to Wu.

Wu noted that Beijing has become China’s largest seed trade center. In 2012, Beijing’s seed industry sales exceeded 10 billion yuan (US$1.61 billion), accounting for about 10 percent of the national total. The city’s crop seed import and export volume takes up 37 percent of the country’s total.

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