Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building

Plant breeding programs in China

Geographical Situation od ChinaChina, located in eastern Asia, occupies nearly one quarter of Asia’s land-mass. Although its agricultural output is the largest in the world, only about 15% of its total land area can be cultivated. Agriculture is an important economic sector of China, accounting for 15% of GDP and employing over 300 million farmers. China ranks first in worldwide farm output, primarily producing rice, wheat, potato, sorghum, peanut, tea, millet, barley, cotton and oilseed.

China's national agricultural research system is the largest publicly funded and administered research system in the world. About 60,000 researchers and technicians work in about 400 research institutes and 70 agricultural universities throughout China. Plant breeding is mainly performed by the several institutes of the public sector within which the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) is the leading agency. All agricultural universities in China have agricultural institutes/sections responsible for plant breeding and bio-technology. There are also many seed companies at both public and private levels.

In general, the breeding objectives include high yielding capacity, good resistance and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses and excellent quality. For example, rice breeding, which is by far the most important Chinese programme, pays high attention to yielding capacity (more than 7.5-10 tons/ha for both inbred and hybrid rice), good resistance to BLB, Blast and BPH, good quality, water use efficiency, and other specific requirements according to various planting areas and crop systems.

China’s economic development, population growth, reduction of cultivable land and increase in people’s living standards all pose a strong challenge to rice production. Any increase in rice production will therefore depend mainly on improving yield and grain quality. Thus, a series of critical topics should be prioritized for rice breeding in order to ensure food security. For instance, the efficient collection and safe conservation of rice germplasm is a critical point for the success of rice breeding programmes in China.

Research and education institutes with activities in plant breeding:

Public institutes

Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)
Website available in Chinese and English

Founded in 1957 in Beijing, CAAS is a leading public agency responsible for agricultural research for the whole nation. It conducts R&D activities in all agricultural aspects except fisheries and some tropical crops. It comprises 41 research institutes located nationwide. Among them, there are several research institutes for plant breeding, such as the Crop Science Research Institute (CSRI) and the Biotechnology Research Institute (BTRI) for rice, wheat, corn, barley, millet; the Cotton Research Institute (CRI) for cotton; the China National Rice Research Institute (CNRRI) in Hangzhou for rice; the Oil Crops Research Institute (OCRI) in Wuhan for oil crops; and others. The China National Crop Genebank in CAAS covers conservation, utilization and exchange of plant genetic resources.

China Agricultural University

China Agricultural University (CAU)
Website available in Chinese and English

CAU, directly subordinated to the Ministry of Education, is a Key National University. It has constructed itself as a research-oriented institute in order to better serve the country and the world by using its highly qualified personnel resources. CAU gives attention to fundamental research with a focus on advanced technologies in the fields of agriculture and biology, aiming at applied research significant to national economic development. In 2005 alone, CAU was awarded three times for a State Prize and 25 times for a Ministerial Prize.

Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST)
Website available in Chinese and English

Established in 1953, HUST is a key comprehensive university under the direct leadership of the Ministry of Education of China. It has 36 academic schools and departments, 4 National Engineering Research Centres, 4 National Leading Laboratories, and 2 National Specialized Laboratories.

Nanjing University of Agriculture

Nanjing University of Agriculture (NJAU)
Website available in Chinese and English

NAU is one of China’s oldest and most prestigious universities of agricultural sciences under the administration of the Ministry of Education. The earliest roots of the university could be traced back to 1902 to the Department of Agriculture of Sanjiang Normal School. It is committed to developing and disseminating scientific knowledge and providing the society with quality personnel for teaching, scientific research and extension, who can contribute to sustainable and productive development in China.

South-China Agricultural University

South-China Agricultural University (SCAU)
Website available in Chinese and English

SCAU's history can be traced back to 1909. Over a hundred years, SCAU has grown into a multi-disciplinary, comprehensive university offering training in agriculture, engineering, liberal arts, basic sciences, economics, management, law, education, history and philosophy. It has always dedicated itself to the development of agriculture and society. SCAU engages in both teaching and research. As an advanced multi-disciplinary agricultural institute with distinctive tropical and subtropical characteristics, SCAU has been conducting agricultural research on basic theory as well as applied projects.

North-West Agricultural University

North-West Agricultural University (NWAU)
Website available in Chinese and English

NWAU is a national key comprehensive university directly under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Ministry of Education (MOE). The university is co-administered by the Ministries of Education, Agriculture, and Water Resources, and the State Forestry Administration, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Shaanxi Province. NWAU was the first high level institution for modern agricultural education in northwest China.

Private Institutes

Fengle Seed Company

Fengle Seed Company
Website available in Chinese and English

Hefei Fengle Seed Co., Ltd. is the first seed company in China to be listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. From being a leading seed company in China, it has expanded to be a large trans-regional group enterprise. The company mainly engages in crop seeds, agro-products, agro-chemicals, and domestic and overseas trading. It has a large and highly respected science research programme, and has received many Science and Technology Progress Prizes.

Longping Seed Company

Longping Seed Company
Website available in Chinese and English

Yuan Long Ping High-Tech Agriculture CO., LTD. was established in 1999 be re-assembling different seed companies. Long ping High-Tech mainly focuses on breeding new crop varieties; seed multiplication; seed sales and extension system of hybrid rice, hybrid pepper, hybrid rape, hybrid corn, hybrid cotton, musk melon and vegetables with high quality and other desired traits. Many new crop varieties developed by Long ping high-tech have been approved and registered by the state and by Hunan Crops Commission.


Information by Tang Shengxiang - Information based on the China's full report from the PBBC survey. Last revised 02-03-2010, GIPB