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Hainan to boost development of modern agriculture

The province plans to create an artificial selection "Silicon Valley" in the city of Sanya

HAIKOU /China/, December 1. /TASS/. Hainan Island will boost the development of modern agriculture and actively attract highly qualified specialists and profile organizations to relevant projects. This is stated in the materials provided to TASS by the press office of the Publicity Department of CPC Hainan Provincial Committee.

According to the authorities, Hainan plans to create an artificial selection "Silicon Valley" in the city of Sanya. The program piqued the interest of many major international companies such as Switzerland's Syngenta Group, Germany's KWS SAAT SE, the Netherlands' KeyGene, and leading Chinese companies such as Longping High-Tech, Da Bei Nong Group, Join Hope Seed, and Dunhuang Seed.

Thanks to the government's incentives, 24 science and technology groups have already set up branches and representative offices in the country, which employ more than 180 people in total. In addition, the government is planning to recruit another 60 research organizations and more than 1,600 specialists.

Strategic project

The China Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) Seed Research Center in Sanya will play an important role in developing Hainan's agriculture, and that it will contribute to China's food security, the China Daily cited local authorities as saying. This new research and production organization, established in May, is actively studying problems related to the protection and efficient use of germplasm of cultivated plants, and is working on molecular design and development of new seed varieties.

"The goal of the research institute is to consolidate dispersed research and ensure cooperation between scientists who are currently working on solving problems on their own," the newspaper quotes CAAS President Tan Huajun as saying. As the head of the academy noted, the center for seed selection breeding should help transform the way research is conducted in the field, so lab technologies could allow for the research to be carried out all year round, rather than be dependent on seasons.

According to Xinhua News Agency, earlier, the academy unveiled a plan to develop seed selection in the southern part of the island. The work, the agency noted, will be carried out in several directions. In particular, the government plans to stimulate independent research, attract innovations for more efficient operation of enterprises in the agricultural sector, and form a developed technological base that will ensure long-term agriculture development in accordance with advanced international standards.

Zhang Hecheng, a representative of the CAAS, said that one of the key tasks is to improve the competitiveness of China's agriculture. He said the authorities have outlined a series of objectives under which they will promote basic research, develop key technologies, strengthen the protection of genetic resources, and improve plant viability and yields. The project will be carried out with the participation of about 100 research teams from more than 10 core research institutes.


A fruitful effort

According to the Hainan Daily newspaper, proactive measures taken by the Hainan administration and the central government of the PRC to develop the agricultural sector this year have borne evident fruit. In particular, an agricultural experimental center at the Yazhouwan Innovation Zone in Sanya has developed a highly efficient hybrid rice variety that produces rich yields twice a year.

The project organizers were able to harvest 23.8 tons per hectare, the publication reported. "This shows great potential and means we can get even more encouraging results in the future," said Wang Fei, the project's lead researcher.

Experts agree that Hainan is the most suitable region in China for developing high yield crop selective breeding with its tropical climate and a high number of sunny days per year.

The Sanya Daily newspaper also reported that the center was able to dramatically increase soybean yields, nearly doubling the national standard. Thanks to the efforts of its staff, it is now possible to produce about 3.6 tons per hectare. In addition, the crop's ripening time has been reduced by about a third.

"We are working to make soybean crops available up to five times a year," said Liu Fandong, a professor at the National Soybean Research Center at Nanjing Agricultural University (eastern Jiangsu Province). He is actively involved in breeding projects in Hainan and believes that the results will help China's southernmost province boost projects in the field as well as reduce implementation costs.

"Such achievements came as a real surprise to us," he admitted.

The geographic scope of the program

Sanya is not the only place in Hainan where advanced forms of agriculture are being actively pursued. The Chinese government is taking steps to ensure that the crop enhancement program covers the entire island and takes into account the widest possible range of products, including seafood.

Earlier, the Hainan Daily newspaper reported that the Wenchang city administration in the northeast of the island intends to establish a leading national-level fish and seafood cultivation base in China. The project to increase supply is being implemented with advanced environmental standards in mind. This is facilitated, in particular, by innovative forms of project industrialization, smart technologies and new multifaceted models to dramatically increase the productivity of agrarian farms.

To boost the dynamic development of the sector Hainan has recently created an integrated form of cross-sectoral cooperation involving the tourism industry, restaurants, hotels and trading companies. The development of such an integrated structure, according to experts, will significantly increase the added value of goods and services. In addition, new jobs will be permanently created in rural areas.

Putting innovation into practice

Earlier, the Hainan media reported that the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS) has established an open mechanism for the development of the agricultural sector in Sanya, which allows to productively implement achievements in plant breeding. The project is overseen by the Laboratory Center and Research Complex in Yazhouwan, with the participation of several leading Chinese universities.

The program is actively supported by the Chinese government. This comprehensive structure is tasked not only with research, but also with broad implementation of the developments in agriculture by involving interested organizations and individuals.

"Our research and observations on plant pests are bearing new fruit. Recognized selective breeding brands are gradually forming in Hainan," said CATAS Deputy Head Guo Anping.

He pointed out that the local climate as well as soils are ideal for breeding resilient crops.

Hainan plays a key role in China's seed selection breeding program. Breeding projects carried out in the province attract the attention of several hundred research organizations, leading universities and enterprises every year. Thousands of specialists from different regions of China, as well as from other countries, participate in them. The fate of the leading Chinese selective breeder, "the father of hybrid rice" Yuan Lunping (1930-2021), who regularly visited Sanya in winter for more than 50 years, is closely connected with the developments in the city.

According to the plans of the Chinese government, in the coming years the island will get a developed research and production complex capable of stimulating the intensive development of agriculture throughout the country.  The facilities located on the territory of the "Yazhouwan" innovation zone are expected to play a significant part in helping the authorities significantly increase China's food security.