Seed World

China and its Relationship with Seed

European Seed takes an unprecedented inside look into the activities of the Chinese seed industry, the Chinese National Seed Trade Association and its initiatives.
The seed industry in China is growing at a rapid pace. By the end of 2014, there were 5,064 licensed seed companies nationwide. Over 220 seed companies had a license issued by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, among which 72 are companies servicing the whole chain from breeding through to seed production and sales.

The China National Seed Trade Association (CNSTA) was created under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture in 1988. It has more than 130 members nationwide specialising in breeding, seed production and seed machinery. It became a member of the International Seed Federation (ISF) in 1995.

The Chinese seed market is diverse. The share of seed companies with a license issued by any of the provincial agriculture departments was 40.2 per cent in 2014; those issued by prefecture-level agriculture departments 29.7 per cent and the percentage at county level (lower level under the prefecture level) was 25.6 per cent. The market status of the many smaller seed companies, which are scattered over a wide area, has greatly improved in recent years.

China requires a lot of seed. In 2013, the total acreage of land under cultivation by grain, soybean and potatoes amounted to 111.956 million ha, cotton 43.46 million ha, oil crops 140.2 million ha, sugar crops 19.9 million ha, and vegetable crops 208.99 million ha. The domestic seed market share value accounts for 21 per cent of the global total, ranking second globally after the United States, which makes China the major target market for multinational seed companies, according to the 2013 China statistical yearbook.

Role of the CNSTA

CNSTA has always dedicated itself to being an open window and platform linking the Chinese seed industry and the world, promoting the development of the Chinese seed market, and facilitating the cooperation between its members and partners. To date, all these efforts are contributing to sustainable agriculture, a better life for farmers and the further development of agriculture in China.

The work of the association is carried out in two ways. CNSTA organises forums, academic exchanges, research at home and abroad, as well as technical training. It also carries out work on behalf of the Chinese government, such as policy seminars and proposals. Cooperation with international organisations has been expanded in recent years, aimed at finding valid solutions for facilitating the import of seed into China. Hosting international and regional seed congresses has proven to be useful in aiding market expansion, including events organized by ISF and the Asia and Pacific Seed Association (APSA).

All of the work that is carried out is aimed at providing helpful service to association members. CNSTA co-organises domestic seed fairs and an exhibitions, launched by the local seed association each year, which has facilitated further cooperation with government. In turn, CNSTA carries out research work launched by government. In recent years, the association has established good communication and a strategic relationship with seed associations from other parts of Asia, Europe, and North and South America. CNSTA also assists with communication between the Ministry of Agriculture and the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Major Successes

On behalf of the seed industry in China, CNSTA hosted the 2005 APSA Congress and the 2014 ISF World Seed Congress. This was not only a chance to show off the Chinese seed industry to the world, but also a good time to show the world that the Chinese seed industry is open for business.

These worldwide and regional seed congresses are influential events in the world seed industry, a major reason why CNSTA wanted to be a part of them. The 2014 World Seed Congress and the 2005 APSA Congress organized by CNSTA are considered a huge trade opportunity within the Chinese seed industry. These events play an important role in strengthening the cooperation between the Chinese seed sector international seed organisations, accelerating the pace of trade rule harmonisation between China and other countries, steering Chinese seed companies into the world seed market and elevating the development of the Chinese seed industry in general.

The Chinese government has provided fundamental support to these congresses.

As a national seed association, CNSTA held these congresses with the end goal of advancing the Chinese seed industry. In his speech during the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Seed Congress in Beijing, the vice-premier of China said that the country wishes to create a fair and transparent environment to achieve benefits for China, but also contribute to the development of the world seed industry and global agriculture.

More and more seed industry stakeholders want to get to know the Chinese seed industry. As a bridge that links seed companies at home and abroad, CNSTA hopes get its achievements seen by the world, as well as make its voice heard.

The Chinese government has committed to continuously supporting the seed industry with efforts to accelerate the speed of the variety innovation, strengthen the protection and utilization of seed germplasm and protection of intellectual property rights in order to create a favourable environment for R&D.

Highlights of the 2014 ISF World Seed Congress

CNSTA was committed to carrying out the traditional World Seed Congress program, but also wanted to add some Chinese characteristics to the 2014 congress. For example, the vice-premier and other high-level leaders from the Chinese government attending the opening ceremony helped bolster the event’s profile. Also, the onsite variety demonstration centre, which exhibited more than 1,200 species including vegetables, wheat and maize, received nearly 800 visitors. Chinese experts from the country’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine to make a presentation. An important outcome of the meeting was the CNSTA’s issuing of the “Beijing Declaration,” which calls on countries around the globe to facilitate a prosperous future for the world’s seed industry.


CNSTA Announces Leadership Changes

The China National Seed Trade Association (CNSTA) is welcoming a new secretary-general while bidding farewell and good luck to its current leader. Here’s what each had to say about the value of CNSTA to the Chinese and global seed sectors.

Liu Hang – Outgoing Secretary General, CNSTAChina2

“I have been working in the seed industry for nearly 40 years and undertook this role with the association in 2010. I have seen the fast development of the Chinese seed industry and the need and recognition from the outside world during the past five years. We organized a variety of international, regional and domestic seed congresses or fairs, with the aim of achieving mutual goals with our global counterparts. We played an important role in the liaison between organizations such as OECD, ISTA, ISF, and APSA with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and our members, in the hope of speeding up the pace of seed industry development in China. I am glad that I could assist the development of China’s seed industry.

Wang Yan – Incoming Secretary General, CNSTA

China3“CNSTA was founded to enhance communication, promote cooperation and maintain the market conditions that aid in global seed industry development. CNSTA will continue to carry out more in-depth communication on the international stage on behalf of the Chinese seed industry. We will respond to the call of government to speed up the development of the modern seed industry by encouraging both imports of seed into China, and also the export of seed to our global partners. In addition to promoting the traditional domestic seed trade, the Chinese government is also exploring new ways of industry development such as global investment and mergers and acquisitions, as well as localization of research. Under these circumstances, more roles and responsibilities are in store for the CNSTA. We intend to expand our reach to more countries around the globe.