A vegetable seed base aimed at developing home-made varieties was officially established on Sunday in Shouguang, China's largest vegetable production base located in the eastern Shandong Province.
The base marks a new beginning in the vegetable seed development and will reduce the country's reliance on seeds of foreign companies, according to Qu Zhenyuan, the Communist Party chief of China Agricultural University. The Beijing-based university is a partner of the base.
China's vegetable seeds have long seen heavy reliance on foreign companies. In Shouguang, two-thirds of farmers' vegetable seeds are bought from companies abroad, at a cost of 300 million yuan (42 million U.S. dollars) a year.
The Shouguang seed base will produce three to five major vegetable varieties for north China each year. By 2012, the base will have two to three new varieties comparable to foreign counterparts for each type of major vegetables.
Shouguang's products are sold in 200 Chinese cities and some are exported to other countries.
Also on Sunday, the 9th Shouguang International Vegetable Science and Technology Expo opened. The expo, the largest of its kind in the country, will last until May 20. The annual event have attracted customers from more than 70 countries or regions in the previous eight sessions.