Seeds as chips: China's mission to ensure its food security

The strategy of holding its ‘rice bowl steady’, an urgent priority for Beijing, could be tested in IP lawyers’ offices.

A sprinkler irrigating a corn field to mitigate the impact of drought brought by high temperatures in China’s Henan province in June. PHOTO: REUTERS
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At a briefing in May, Japan's Agriculture Minister quantified the illicit Chinese farming of Shine Muscat grapes - a preposterously expensive fruit engineered by Japanese breeders over 18 years.

The rights holders, he said, were losing more than US$70 million (S$98 million) a year to grape bootlegging; China, as the prime villain of viticulture, had 30 times more of the fruit under illicit cultivation than Japan's legally grown acreage.

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