Nowadays, the 21st Guangdong Seed Expo on the theme of “Seeds Build a Strong Core, Digital Leads the Future” and the 2022 World Digital Agriculture Conference were held in Guangzhou. Representatives from government departments, experts, scholars and entrepreneurs both at home and abroad exchanged their ideas and insights on the application of modern breeding technology to invigorate agriculture, supporting policies on digital agriculture, digital transformation of agriculture and other topics. They contributed to the high-quality development of agriculture and drew a new blueprint by forging synergy and reaching consensus through contemplation.

Site of the 21st Guangdong Seed Expo and the 2022 World Digital Agriculture Conference (Photo by Wu Haotian/Xinhuanet)

Improving the Seed Industry for Food Security

Barns filled with plenty provide people with food security.

Melon varieties from the farming exhibitions (Photo by Zhu Hao/Xinhuanet)

The event is characterized by the application of the metaverse and deep integration of digital technology and the seed industry. Exhibition of some 6,000 varieties including solanaceous, melon and leafy vegetables across different regions were presented by virtue of online panoramic VR technology. Twelve branch venues from eleven cities in Guangdong were brought online where promotion campaigns on good seeds, practices and farming tools were live-streamed. Some 100 local experts on agricultural technology gathered remotely to provide their insights and solutions.

“Top seeds” such as “Meixiangzhan 2 (rice)”, “Haixingnong 3 (south American white prawn)”, “Guangming 2 (white feather broiler)” and remarkable agricultural machines including drones, rotary cultivators and rice transplanters were on virtual display. The event brought together new varieties, technologies, equipment and model all of which lead Guangdong’s modern seed industry to go global.

Gu Xingwei, director of the Guangdong Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said that the integration of agriculture and the seed industry with digital and smart technology on multiple fronts would build Guangdong into an innovative powerhouse in the seed industry and promote the high-quality development of modern agriculture.

A seed has the potential to change the world and technology promises to create miracles. Yang Weicai, member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, believes that seed selection and breeding help to shore up weaknesses, refine produce varieties and enrich China’s germplasm bank.

Leading companies have critical roles to play in invigorating the seed industry. Wen Zhifen, Chairman of Wens Foodstuff Group Co., Ltd. suggested that the company would take the leading role and shoulder due responsibilities, empowered by the National Livestock and Poultry Breeding Enterprise Qualification List, to advance the breeding of boars and quality broilers and promote related engineering technology.

The combination of the seed industry, digital technology, innovation and coordination holds the key to science and technology self-reliance, self-strengthening, and provenance self-reliance. These factors are also important for food production and security and offer new solutions to revitalize the seed industry amid changes unseen in a century.

Digital empowerment speeds up the pace to modernize agriculture and rural areas.

As the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China suggests, “We will invigorate the seed industry, support the development of agricultural science, technology, and equipment, and refine the mechanisms for ensuring the incomes of grain growers and for compensating major grain-producing areas. With these efforts, we will ensure that China’s food supply remains firmly in its own hands.”

Intelligent agricultural machines on display (Photo by Wu Haotian/Xinhuanet)

Zhao Chunjiang, member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and director of the National Engineering Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture said that digital agriculture represents the inevitable trend of global agricultural development as it is critical to improve productivity and preserve soil, water resources and biodiversity.

Pioneering the reform and opening up policy, Guangdong province has seized opportunities and keeps up with the trend to better digital agriculture infrastructure and given full play to intelligent agriculture. It has demonstrated the resolve and confidence to build itself into a “digital agriculture Silicon Valley” and a shining example with global clout. Digital agriculture featured seven aspects: experts, farmers, leading companies, demonstration bases, advanced technologies, cutting-edge equipment and replicable models each with a number of one hundred. The conference has gathered strength from all walks of life and showcased Guangdong’s responsibility, solutions and strength.

On the digital forum, fifty agricultural experts, scholars, department leaders and enterprise representatives communicated via the internet. They focused on the current situation, took a long-term perspective, pooled their wisdom and picked each other’s brains. The forum witnessed a new chapter of digital agriculture unfolding amid the exchange of ideas.

Automated rice transplanting, smart monitoring and drones-enabled irrigating help to paint a picture of autonomous agricultural life in the future. “We work on unmanned farms because we aim at mechanizing agriculture and making it smarter so as to support digital agriculture”, said Luo Xiwen, member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and professor from South China Agricultural University.

“The dynamics of digital agriculture are changing internally and externally,” suggested Meng Xiangbao, deputy director of the Guangdong Institute of Modern Agricultural Equipment. Data has become an important production factor of agriculture, just like land and labor.

New digital technology promotes produce to go global. Cheng Fengying, member of the Standing Committee of Zhanjiang Municipal Committee and head of the United Front Work Department remarked that the “12221” market system, “Internet+”, e-commerce and other marketing approaches help to bring aquatic products from Zhanjiang to the global market. Wei Ming, secretary of the Party Committee, chairman and general manager of China Mobile Group Guangdong Co., Ltd. said that the combination of connectivity, computing power and capability would make digital technology more accessible to towns and villages in Guangdong. Chen Hui, a novice farmer, believed that e-commerce is key to shaping produce brands, enhancing digital technology, and following market rules and industrialization.

The forum reflected the heavy responsibilities falling on the shoulder of agricultural practitioners and their consensus to forge ahead together and drive China’s agriculture and rural areas to be more modernized.

“We develop in Guangdong and embrace the world. We will build platforms for digital agriculture communication around the globe, further integrate digital technology and agriculture, promote the application of the whole industrial chain, work together on innovative growth models of the Guangdong agriculture industry, enable agricultural digitalization and digital agriculture industrialization to go hand in hand, and deliver the benefits to people across the world.” The 2022 World Digital Agriculture Conference Tianhe Manifesto will boost global cooperation and mutual benefits.

With hopes, determination and confidence, let us leverage mutual benefits and win-win cooperation to create a shared future of digital agriculture and embark on the road toward smarter, more precise and autonomous agriculture across the globe.


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