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      position: EnglishChannel > Innovation China > Article

      Nanfan: Breeding Seeds of Hope

      Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2022-03-03 10:58:08 | Author: Wang Xiaoxia


      The yield of double-cropping rice developed by Yuan Longping and his team exceeds 1,500 kg per mu at an experimental base in Yazhou District (Batou), Sanya city of Hainan. (PHOTO: XINHUA)

      By WANG Xiaoxia

      Yuan Longping, the late "father of hybrid rice," once said the success of hybrid rice should be attributed to "Nanfan."

          Nanfan is a process that accelerates the seed breeding process in south China's warmer climate, greatly improving the adaptability of varieties, and bearing more than 70 percent of new crop varieties in the country. If Yuan's hybrid rice is one of the masterpieces of China's agricultural science and technology, Nanfan is the collection of them, making a great contribution to China's food security.

          Seed breeding, as vital agricultural core technology, was once again noted in China's newly unveiled "No. 1 central document" for 2022. Stepping into the new era, China is building a "Nanfan Silicon Valley" that integrates scientific research, production, sales, sci -tech exchanges and achievement transformation.

          Improved conditions

          Beginning in the late 1950s, thousands of Chinese agricultural experts began migrating to Hainan, the country's largest Nanfan breeding base, from September to May every year. They used the sunlight and temperature on the island to search for more seed breeding possibilities, while enduring harsh living conditions.

          Farmer scientist Li Denghai recalled the early years of his career in Hainan. He arrived to research corn breeding in 1978, and lived in a thatched house, sometimes sleeping in the fields to protect the materials, covered with sacks to protect himself from mosquitoes.

          After years of effort, Li's high-yield corn varieties have increased the country's output by more than 100 million tons. The seed company Li founded has established 17 well-equipped breeding bases in Hainan.

          Cheng Xiangwen, an 86 -year -old agronomist, has spent nearly 60 spring festivals in Hainan, since he first arrived to develop improved corn varieties in 1964.

          Now, authorities have approved 14 new, high -yield corn varieties that Cheng helped develop. Among them, the series of "Jundan" has been promoted in more than 300 million mu (1 mu is about 667 square meters) of land in China.

          Over the years the Chinese Government has improved the working and living conditions for agricultural experts on the island. 268,000 mu of land was designated for Nanfan base. Laboratories, apartments, schools and hospitals have also been built. This has allowed scientists to focus their energy on seed breeding.

          Common mission

          On October 26, 2021, at an experimental base in Yazhou District (Batou), Sanya City, the yield of double-cropping rice developed by Yuan Longping and his team exceeded 1,500 kg per mu, fulfilling Yuan's last wish.

          Yazhou, 40 kilometers west of downtown Sanya, has seen many breakthroughs in seed industry development, which has become a common mission for the community.

          The Sanya Yazhou Bay Science and Technology City has pooled a variety of talent and resources, in the process attracting more than 20 institutes and universities, along with 420 agriculture-related enterprises. Libraries, classrooms and labs are open to all students, and even courses and teachers can be shared.

          On November 29, 2021, the Hainan Yazhou Bay Seed Laboratory unveiled the first batch of major projects, and the project leaders made a pledge to fulfill 75 major tasks. There is no upper limit for funds, only assessment, said Xia Mian, director of the laboratory's cooperation and exchange department.

          To transform research results into productivity, a public service platform was established to facilitate transaction of intellectual properties (IP). More than 2,000 IPs were sold at a high price in Yazhou, among the 20,000 IPs listed at the platform.

          Spiritual heritage

          Seed breeders harvest better crop varieties, which also breeds the Nanfan spirit of brave, pioneering, innovative and practical.

          Cheng Xiangwen still goes to the field every day, dedicated to breeding high-yield corn varieties with stronger resistance that are easier to harvest with machines. Most of his life has been spent studying and cultivating corn.

          Today the Nanfan spirit is being embraced by young farmers, who still work in the fields, using more technology than their predecessors.

          Zhu Lin, PhD student from the China Agricultural University, said that compared with the pioneers, they use more advanced equipment and convenient facilities and will take full advantage of local conditions.

          "Top agricultural experts in China gather here. We learn from their experience as well as their spirit," said Wei Yuanhao, postgraduate student from Nanjing Agricultural University, impressed by the openness and sharing of knowledge in Yazhou.

          “The amazing innovative environment inspires me to do something for the seed industry," said Di Mengliang, R&D staff member from Hainan-based Yuan Longping High-tech Agriculture Co., Ltd, whose estimated value exceeds 2.5 billion RMB.

      Editor: 湯哲梟

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