GUANGDONG: The Government of Guangzhou City will develop Southern China’s most populous metropolis into an “International Seed Center” by 2025, an agriculture official revealed this week.
The private-public-partnership (PPP) project – announced at the 15th Guangdong Seed Expo this week by Mr. Liao Chongbin, Vice Director of Agriculture Department of Guangzhou City – is expected to generate RMB450 billion (US$64.9bn) in revenue in the coming decade from the trade of seeds and complementary inputs.
As the administrative seat of Guangdong Province, Guangzhou City has a population of about 12 million, while the greater metropolis, which includes Shenzhen, Dongguan, Macao and parts of Foshan, Jiangmen, Zhongshan, Zhuhai and Huizhou, is home to some 44 million residents.
Addressing the expo’s “Kemulang Forum” on December 11 at the Hotel Nikko Guangzhou, Mr Liao said that the project would be supported by the city government, but operated by private seed enterprise.
He said the project would be financed through social capital to the tune of RMB30-60bn ($4.3-8.6bn).
Guangdong Seed Trade Grows
More than 30,000 visitors, including representatives from some 1,000 Chinese and international seed companies, attended the 15th Guangdong Seed Expo, which was held December 10-14.
Hosted at Tianhong Hotel and at the Guangdong Agricultural Technology Extension Station in Guangzhou’s Tianhe District, the leading Chinese seed trade event this year was organized under the theme, “Integration, Innovation, Development and Sharing”.
The event featured more than 382 hotel-room exhibitions, 110 regular and 60 premium trade booths and a field demonstration area spanning more than 200,000 square meters.
The opening ceremony at Kemulang (Guangdong Agriculture Technology Extension Station ) on the morning of Dec 12 was attended by 200 guests, including officials from the Agricultural Department of Guangdong Province, representatives from International and National Seed Associations and seed companies.
Addressing the assembly, Dr. Ma Dehua, APSA Executive Committee member and Vice President of Longping Hi-tech, said, “Integration, innovation, development and sharing – the theme of this expo – are also part of the spirit of Longping Hi-tech, under the nation’s ‘Belt and Road’ strategy. The seed industry needs to be more integrative, innovative, and competitive, and we need to work together to develop the seed industry with a global view.”
Also attending the expo on behalf of APSA were Immediate Past President Zhiping Wang, Executive Director Heidi Gallant and China Liaison Officer Li Xiaofeng, who were particularly impressed by the spirit of the event and its attendees.
Speaking at the event’s Grand Banquet on Dec 12 at Hotel Nikko Guangzhou, Director of Guangdong Agricultural Technology Extension Station, Mr. Lin lv revealed that in addition to more than 6,000 vegetable varieties showcased this year, there were also tea, flowers, Chinese herbal medicine products, as well as more than 30 supporting technologies on display at the expo.
“This year our focus is on the integration of the whole agriculture industry, building on our efforts since last year to integrate [companies dealing in] varieties, agronomics and agricultural machinery. As a result of improved facilities, the demonstrated varieties are greatly enriched,” he said.
Among the popular varieties on display included Syngenta’s seedless watermelon and hybrid sweet corn, ready to eat raw after picking; thick, fresh bitter gourd from Helinong company, which is preferred for its superior ability to store long and transport.
The bitter melon from Helinong also had a good response, so much that it was served with soup during the grand banquet.
Several APSA members had displays, including Derit Seeds, a cucumber company which was recently aquired by Longping Hi-tech, and Hunan Xiangyan, which commands a dominant share of the Chinese pepper market.
The expo’s organizers – Guangdong Seed Trade Association and Nanfang Rural Newspaper – estimate that more than 77,000 agriculture varieties from throughout the world have been demonstrated at the expo since its inception in 2002, directly driving growth of farmers’ annual income growth by an estimated RMB 3billion (US$432.6mn).
Ms Zhang Kaisui from the Secretariat of Guangdong Seed Trade Association commented that the popularity of, and turnout to the event is growing every year.
“The hotel-room exhibitions were very popular and were booked out not long after registration opened,” she said.
“The number of visitors is increasing every year and we see a growing interest from international seed companies and foreign visitors attending the event,” she added, noting that this year also coincided with the 20-year anniversary of the founding of Guangdong Seed Trade Association, which was marked with a celebratory gala dinner on Dec 10h at Tianhong Hotel.
While Guangdong Seed Association oversaw the hotel-room exhibitions, Nanfang Rural Newspaper was responsible for the main demonstration area and field exhibitions, as well as organizing the Kemulang Forum.
Held at the Hotel Nikko Guangzhou, Kemulang Forum – under the theme “Being Together, Becoming Rich”, and divided into three segments, including marketing, financing and crossover – attracted more than 300 attendees.
Also a highlight of the forum, APSA Director Heidi Gallant presented on the “Status of Asia and Pacific Seed Industry” to a captive audience of seed and agriculture entrepreneurs keen to gain some exclusive intel into the rapidly growing and ever-lucrative seed industry.
The presentation will be made available soon for APSA members to download.