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China is striving to explore the overseas hybrid rice market

China leads the world in breeding technology of hybrid rice with a large number of seed companies producing hybrid rice seeds. As domestic hybrid rice seed market tends to be saturated, some prominent companies are striving to enter foreign market, with great support from the government. It is believed that developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America shall become the emerging markets for China's hybrid rice companies, according to CCM’s December Issue of Seed China News.

Under the "Guidance for Promoting the International Development of Strategic Emerging Industries" (Guidance for Emerging Industries) issued in Sept. 2011, domestic seed companies are expected by the government to explore the emerging markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America. China's companies are encouraged to build production and demonstration zones in foreign countries and strengthen the overseas promotion for new crop varieties.

On 25 Dec., 2011, China National Rice Research Institute (CNRRI) cooperated with a local hybrid rice company to establish the ASEAN Rice Seed R&D Center in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (Guangxi), Southwest China. The new R&D center is committed to cultivating new hybrid rice varieties for local areas and Southeast Asian countries.

For the Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, with similar climatic conditions as the rice planting areas in the south part of China, could directly introduce hybrid rice varieties from Guangxi for trial planting.

In recent years, China has gradually enhanced the promotion of hybrid rice in foreign countries. A series of hybrid rice aid projects have been launched in other developing countries such as Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Guinea, etc.

With breeding stations or demonstration sites, China's hybrid rice is gradually recognized in foreign countries. For example, over 10 hybrid rice production demonstration sites have been built in Guinea, producing over 500 tonnes of rice seeds in 3,530 ha. rice planting areas now. It is understood that Madagascar already introduced over 30 hybrid rice varieties from China for trial planting.

Although the exports of hybrid rice seeds have constantly increased in recent years, the export destinations are only limited to a few countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Philippines and Guinea, with a low level in both export volume and value.

Some industrial insiders believe that it would be a good strategy for domestic companies to establish hybrid rice demonstration zones in overseas countries, aiming to expand the local seed markets in the long run. For most African countries without strong sense of improved varieties, it may not easy for domestic companies to directly distribute hybrid seeds there. After demonstration and guidance, local farmers would be more receptive to improved varieties and fine seeds.

Encouraged by the government, some leading hybrid rice companies are actively exploiting overseas markets. For example, Longping High-tech is leading a Sino-Indonesian hybrid rice program, aiming to develop the best hybrid rice variety for Indonesia. Besides, the company also has a hybrid rice R&D center in Philippines which is committed to developing excellent hybrid rice.

Winall Hi-tech, another leading hybrid rice company, is striving to expand the hybrid rice market in Southeast Asia, with seed export business mainly covering Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc. Actually, Winall Hi-tech is one of the key players exporting hybrid rice seeds to Southeast Asian countries.

With the increasing influence of hybrid rice worldwide, a number of overseas countries, especially those in Asia, Africa and Latin America are hoping to introduce hybrid rice technology from China. There should be a huge market space for hybrid rice seeds, as the coverage rate of hybrid rice is still very low in most foreign countries.

It is believed that the developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America which have maintained close relationship with China for years would provide a great platform for Chinese seed companies to achieve the internationalization in future. Of course, the talent resources and breeding techniques must be fully enhanced before domestic seed companies really lead the overseas hybrid rice markets.

Source: Seed China News 1112 ...

by S. C.
14 january 2012, World News > Asia