On August 1, the National Tuber Crop Research Center of CAAS was established and inaugurated in Beijing. Vice minister Qu Dongyu attended and spoke at the ceremony.
Vice minister Qu said that China is a major producer of tuber crops such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava and yams. The annual planting area of main tuber crops is more than 160 million mu, accounting for about 8% of China’s available cultivated land. The planting area and total yield of potatoes and sweet potatoes both rank first in the world. Potatoes as the fourth main staple food after rice, corn and wheat are of great significance to safeguarding China's food security, reducing resource and environmental pressure, and improving the nutritional and dietary structure of residents. At present, the research and development force of potato breeding in China is relatively scattered, and the industrial chain system needs to be improved. The extension rate of high-quality seed potatoes is low, and there is still great potential for capacity improvement; post-production and processing levels are not high, and market competitiveness is not strong. The establishment of the National Tuber Crop Research Center is an effective measure to solve problems such as the scattered research and development force and the insufficient connection with international research forces.
Vice minister Qu put forward five requirements for the work of the National Tuber Crop Research Center: focusing on the overall development of the domestic potato industry, strengthening its scientific and technical support, and carrying out joint collaboration on the key issues hindering its development; setting up an international cooperation window for potato researches to serve the “Belt and Road” countries; paying attention to the development of nutritional values and food culture of tuber crops and leading the healthy consumption of the people; reinforcing the transformation of scientific and technical achievements and helping the drive of poverty relief and countryside revitalization by the potato industry; attaching importance to the training of potato research talents, and building a talent team with excellent professionalism and international vision.
It gets to know that the National Tuber Crop Research Center is a national-level public potato research platform based on integrating research forces of CAAS in potatoes and sweet potatoes. Through overall layout, task leading, collaborative innovation, project-driven and other modes, joint integration, cross-disciplinary research and comprehensive improvement will be realized. The establishment of this platform will help to play the group advantages of CAAS in researches of tuber crops, establishing an efficient agricultural science and technology organization model which will be featuring collaborative innovation, better providing technical support for the national potato staple food strategy, and becoming China's window to work with the Asia Pacific Center of the International Potato Center.