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Vice minister stresses commercial seed industry

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BEIJING, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- China's Vice Minister of Science and Technology Zhang Laiwu on Thursday stressed the need to reshape the country's seed industry through commercial and innovative elements.

China's seed industry is still weak and related enterprises are small and poorly organized, Zhang said at a press conference hosted by the State Council Information Office.

Addressing this situation is imperative, he said.

"Food security in China should be safeguarded by the Chinese people themselves," Zhang said, pledging further efforts to treat salinized land and promote dry-land farming and water-saving agriculture to tackle the issue.

"However, it does not mean a refusal of international resources and cooperation," he added.

Zhang said the ministry will advance a program to send "agricultural technical commissioners" to the country's rural areas to develop the agricultural sector, including the modern seed industry.

"Anyone who is running a business in this sector and bringing professional scientific and technological knowledge to the rural areas, the agricultural industry and farmers may be regarded as a 'commissioner,' which can also be called a 'professional farmer,'" the official said.

According to Zhang, China piloted this program starting in 2002, and to date there are 720,000 such "commissioners."

Scientific research and industrialization efforts should be enhanced in the seed industry to make it more competitive in the market, he said.

Zhang also said innovations are needed to ensure food safety in China.

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