In today’s talking points: China’s land restoration a sign of government turnaround; China’s poultry firm seals deal for foreign breeding birds to tackle chicken shortage; Australian robots could be future of agriculture
China’s land restoration a sign of government turnaround
China is letting 1 million acres of farmland lie fallow or put it under crop rotation. This is a sign that food-safety and environmental woes have become a higher priority on Beijing’s agenda. China has been faced with pollution, desertification, water shortages, and other environmental disasters that pose direct threats to the food chain. The government announced in June that 1.5 billion yuan will be handed out as subsidies to farmers in a drive to restore the health of 1.01 million acres of farmland on a trial basis. The policy since June has been rolled out in “smooth progress” according to Xinhua News Agency. “The introduction of the policy shows that the Agriculture Ministry has realized that it is unsustainable to pursue excess supply of some crops at the expense of the environment,” says Wang Jing, Greenpeace East Asia’s food and agriculture senior campaigner.
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China’s poultry firm seals deal for foreign breeding birds to tackle chicken shortage
To boost the security of China’s meat supply, Shandong Yisheng Livestock & Poultry Breeding Co, China’s top chicken breeder, has secured a rare supply of breeding birds from a French genetics firm. China is the world’s second largest poultry market and it imports all the breeding stock for its white-feathered broiler chickens, which is used in fast food. However, due to the wake of bird flu outbreaks around the world, the country has banned poultry shipments from a number of countries, which lead to its first shortfall in chicken meat in at least a decade. Genetics company Groupe Grimaud will now supply Shandong Yisheng with so-called ‘great-grandparent’ birds, which can be selected to produce another generation of breeding birds, unlike grandparent stock. China has continuously tried to create its own broiler breeds several times but has been unsuccessful, but it still remains a key priority for the industry.
Read more at Reuters
Australian robots could be future of agriculture
Salah Sukkarieh, director of research for the Australian Centre for Field Robotics led a talk at a conference in Berlin earlier this month to discuss the influence of robotics on farming techniques. RIPPA, or the Robot for Intelligent Perception and Precision Application is one such example. A solar powered farm-hand designed to work for long hours in the field. Professor Sukkarieh went on to explain that many unmanned air, ground and marine-based robotic platforms will be more readily developed and quickly commercialised for use in agriculture. The rise of farming robots will be spurred by the rapid acceptance of 3D printing and optimisation software.
Read more at 3D printing industry