Cooperation between the Plant Sciences Group and Henan Academy of Agricultural Sciences (HAAS) in Zhengzhou is being intensified. Over the next few years, HAAS will be hiring the knowledge and expertise of colleagues in Plant Breeding to help raise the quality of the commercial breeding of peanuts, grains and other crops.
The Chinese province of Henan, with 96 million inhabitants, is one of the key agricultural regions in the country and a frontrunner in agricultural innovation. Knowledge has been shared between Plant Sciences Group’s Plant Breeding department and HAAS since 2016 through seminars, joint training sessions and research in breeding programmes and design management. PhD students and post-doctoral students from Henan have also been receiving supervision in Wageningen.
New breeding hotspot
Cooperation will be further expanded over the next five years. The province of Henan aims to grow to become a breeding hotspot within China, and with this in mind, HAAS established the National Biological Breeding Industry Innovation Centre in 2019. The focus of commercial breeding activities is first and foremost peanuts, which are an important crop in China – although commercial breeding is primarily centred in North America and Europe. With a view to changing this situation, HAAS is hiring colleagues from Plant Breeding in order to train and coach employees and PhD students in Henan. Three students from Henan will also be embarking upon a PhD programme in Wageningen.
'This is an important next step in our years-long successful cooperation with China,’ explains professor Richard Visser, chair and head of Plant Breeding at WUR. Together with professor Yuling Bai he initiated and will supervise the project at WUR. The agreement ratifying the cooperation was signed by Ernst van den Ende and Zhang Xinyou, CEO of HAAS, in an online ceremony on 23 October.