China will complete the new national crop germplasm bank, with which it seeks to boost the country’s capacity to develop new crop varieties and improve food security, this year. According to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Tang Renjian, the bank has a designed capacity of 1.5 million genetic resources, almost 4 times as much as the country currently has, and will be the largest germplasm bank in the world.
Last month, top Chinese policymakers underscored that the seed sector is vital to ensuring the country’s food supply, a long-standing priority that has received renewed attention since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. However, China’s seed sector is fragmented and its companies lack the extensive germplasm that the major multinational agricultural companies have.
China’s current seed bank cannot meet R&D needs, stated Tang on a visit to the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, where it is located. “The new national crop germplasm resource bank should not only be well established, but it should also be used well,” he stressed, adding that China’s seed industry still lags behind the innovation capacity of developed countries.