By Chen Qingqing
China's agricultural technology and innovation are expected to benefit more countries and regions along the routes of the China-proposed Belt and Road (B&R) initiative, industry representatives said, commenting on several agricultural advances such as hybrid wheat and seawater rice.
More Chinese agribusinesses have invested in overseas markets in recent years, as China's level of crop seed production and cultivation has become much more advanced compared with other developing countries along the B&R routes, Li Guoxiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Rural Development Institute, told the Global Times on Thursday.
Major domestic agricultural company Sinochem Group recently announced that its hybrid wheat, using the two-line hybrid technique, had been harvested on a large scale in Pakistan.
Since the beginning of 2017, the company tried to supply China's pesticide production and crop planting technology to customers in B&R countries and regions, including support for pesticide production technology in Central Asia, and technical services for Mongolian wheat planting, the company told the Global Times on Thursday.
China has signed more than 120 agricultural cooperation agreements with countries, regions and international organizations along the B&R routes, with total investment exceeding 70 billion yuan ($10.24 billion), China Central Television (CCTV) reported early in August.
"Most of the nations along B&R routes are developing countries, with abundant resources and market potential," Chen Cuiying, general manager of a Laos-based subsidiary of Yunnan State Farms Group Co, told the Global Times on Thursday.
With investment of 500 million yuan, the company has established rubber plantation bases in Laotian provinces such as Xaignabouli and Luang Prabang, she noted.
"We're in a leading position in technologies such as rubber breeding, rubber tapping and pest control, which will benefit local industries in Southeast Asian countries," Chen added.
China and the United Arab Emirates plan to popularize seawater rice technology to the entire Arab world, following the recent trial plantation success of seawater rice last month, the CCTV report said.
"Cooperation with B&R countries is reciprocal," Zhong Yu, an expert at the Institute of Agricultural Economic and Development of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, told the Global Times. However, companies need to further develop from the plantation stage to processing, which might create more value for local economies, he noted.
A survey of 100 leading Chinese agricultural companies that invest overseas showed that 60 percent were still low on the supply chain, with little global competitiveness, said a post on the website of Foreign Economic Cooperation Center under the Ministry of Agriculture.
Most of the companies had limited control over storage, trading, price-formation and sales, which are considered as high value-added activities, the post showed.
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