According to the ”14. five-year plan” China plans to increase its research and development (R&D) spending by more than 7% per year. In fact, the increase in R&D expenditures from 0.7% of the annual gross national product (GNP) in 1995 to 2.2% in 2020 reveals China’s determination for development. Agriculture has always been one of the priority areas in all development plans. While the announcement of this last five-year plan, revitalization of the rural areas and modernization of agriculture were highlighted:
According to the mentioned plan:
• The quality of agricultural products and food security will be further improved and the increase in farmers’ incomes will exceed those of urban residents;
• Agricultural modernization will be provided where conditions permit;
• In order to reduce poverty, rural revitalization will be encouraged in these regions and the income gap in rural and urban areas will be tried to be zero by 2025, regular assistance will be continued for low-income rural residents;
• The protection, development and use of gene resources will be encouraged, the implementation of scientific and technological projects involving agricultural biotechnology in plant breeding will be accelerated;
• By 2025, efforts will be made to establish 500 demonstration zones where modern agriculture is practiced and for the sustainability of agricultural development;
• The mobile internet will be promoted and the use of remote sensing satellites in agriculture will be accelerated, smart agriculture will be developed, big data systems for agriculture and rural areas will be set up, the integration of new information technology with agricultural production will be encouraged and a comprehensive agricultural meteorological monitoring network will be created to improve climate disaster prevention;
• Agricultural products storage and cold chain logistics facilities will be built to accelerate the improvement of the country’s rural logistics system, encourage e-commerce, and help direct sales of agricultural products from original production locations.
The most prominent issue here is the decision to use agricultural biotechnology in plant breeding in the country. As it is known, in recent years, genetic modification (GMO) and new breeding techniques (NBT) (CRISPR, Talen) have been involved in the development of new varieties. Under the pressure of climate change and population growth, it is inevitable to develop new varieties as soon as possible. Reducing this process, which lasted between 10-20 years, to four years with new breeding techniques, is an unmissable opportunity for China. The EU places these NBT operations in the same category as GMOs and prohibits them. Of course, there may be problems in the foreign trade of products developed by this method. Here, China has demonstrated its commitment to this issue with the relevant development plan.
While the country-oriented state policies are constantly being implemented, China supports a world-renowned e-commerce company like Ali Baba, which most of us have heard of. Parallel to it, Pinduoduo, a large company engaged in agricultural product e-commerce, bought goods from 12 million farmers in 2020 and served 788 million consumers. Let’s try to summarize the garlic example of an application of such a company that can be a solution for the price gap from field to table, which is a big problem in our country, with the table below. At the top is the practice in normal trading. A kilo of garlic sold by the producer for 1 ₺ costs the consumer 8 ₺. In the bottom line of the table, according to the e-commerce data, the producer earns 30% more money than the product he sells for 1.3 ₺, while the consumer can reach food much cheaper.
TODAY /// the purchase price from the manufacturer: 1₺/kg /// Garlic Producer-Wholesaler, 1-3 intermediaries + greengrocer, /// Product to the consumer 8₺/kg;
e-COMMERCE///Purchase price from the manufacturer in e-commerce 1.3₺/kg /// e-commerce firm warehouses + Transfer to the consumer/// Product to the consumer 1.5₺/kg
It cannot be argued how beneficial such an application is for both the producer and the consumer. In some countries agricultural products are also served by e-commerce companies. Some supermarkets are working in this parallel and even that a company has started the blockchain application.
China, which has the world’s largest agricultural economy, undertakes one fourth of global food production alone. On the other hand, in terms of money, it is the second country in the world that imports the most agricultural products. After the commercial war with the USA, China has attempted to be self-sufficient in many products. With a surface area of 9.5 million square kilometers and a population of 1.3 billion, it has become the second largest economy in the world by increasing its GNP by 10% each year in the last 50 years. However, the agricultural sector, where 33% of the working population is employed, contributes only 10% to GNP. Therefore, China aims to increase agricultural productivity and consequently food production through structural reforms, institutional innovations, intensive R&D and agricultural investments.