China Faces A Big AgTech Test

Feb 26, 2021

Rural revitalization is the new name of the game for China.

In the first policy announcement following the Lunar New Year Holiday, China’s agriculture minister announced agtech self-sufficiency as a top state issue.

The goal? Get 200 million mostly small-scale farms up to agtech speed to bolster food security.

With a growing population and rising consumption rates, China can’t afford a casual approach either. The country’s corn and soybean yields and pork and dairy efficiencies lag behind their global competitors.

Soundbite: We cannot afford to be complacent for even a moment, but instead must do everything possible to heighten (food) security.” noted Tang Renjian, Minister of Agriculture.

The country’s top companies – Alibaba, Pinduoduo, and others – are rising to the challenge. Breeding and cultivation sciences, AI, quantum computing, and computer chips are all on the technology docket to ramp up farm to fork traceability and competencies.

One real-time example: Apple Watch-style chicken bracelets (we’re serious). They may not send texts or respond to ‘Hey Siri,’ but they digitally track the birds’ steps for early disease detection. This cuts back on labor needs in the country’s hinterlands.

+ Worth noting: China seems set to green light GMOs, noting a need for sophisticated seeds. The government has laid the groundwork for the commercialization of new GMO corn and soybean hybrids.