“How many seed potatoes would you like to purchase? Okay, I will mark it out for you.” Still a month to go before the large-scale potato planting in the northern region. Mr. Li Yanming, general manager of Beijing Xisen Sanhe Potato, is called every day many times to help buyers to place the orders as growers in many provinces and cities have already started pre-ordering seed potatoes to prepare for the upcoming growing season.
Since the 2015 World Potato Conference, the potato seed industry in Yanqing, Northeast China has continued to develop further. These small potatoes are increasingly becoming a major agricultural industry in Yanqing District, Beijing. Nowadays, the seed potatoes developed and produced from Beijing Xisen Sanhe Potato are sold all over the country and even exported to foreign countries.
Virus free breeding
Virus-free varieties are very important in seed potato cultivation. In the seedling production workshop of Xisen, technicians in white overalls are busy in front of a bunch of professional laboratory equipment with bottles. “Just like peeling the leaves of cabbage, choose a good variety to take its bud tip, and peel it to the smallest and brightest core left at the end, which is the leaf primordium we want.” According to the staff, these leaf primordia are cultivated in a flame-sterilized medium to grow a piece of leaf, and then each leaf is cut into a section to grow into a seedling, and finally planted in a greenhouse.
Compared with conventionally bred seed potatoes, the seed potatoes produced by the seedlings that have undergone detoxification procedures are healthier and have the characteristics of early maturity, high yield, and superior quality. The yield can generally increase by three times compared with conventionally bred seed potatoes, which can greatly increase the income of growers.
Compared with the technological atmosphere of the seedling production workshop, the greenhouse is full of vitality, and the dark green potato seedlings are growing. The original potato seeds grown in these greenhouses are about the same size as quail eggs. After these original seeds mature, they will be grown in the field to grow a little bigger. When these bigger ones are planted again, the seed potatoes that grow out are sold to farmers. This “three-level breeding” system ensures the best quality of seed potatoes grown.
Xisen has built more than 10 hectares of greenhouses, had already cultivated more than ten new potato varieties, and has two national patent technologies. At the same time, it has large-scale breeding of virus-free sweet potato seedlings, with an annual output of about 20 million seedlings and more than 100,000 tons of seed potatoes.
“Our seed potatoes are now sold to more than ten provinces, cities, and regions across the country, including Shandong, Gansu, Yunnan, and Guangdong. They are also sold to foreign regions such as Kazakhstan and South Korea. Especially in Kazakhstan, they perform better than local varieties with more than 50% higher production.”Mr. Li Yanming said proudly.
Not only that, since last year, Xisen has started to expand the new model of cooperation between farmers in seed potato and seedling production. At present, the company has established cooperation with agricultural cooperatives in other towns in Yanqing District. The Xisen Company trains farmers in technology, provides seedlings and recycles products. These cooperatives are responsible for the daily organization and management of farmers, further expand the scale of seed potato production, expand the base of seed sources, and at the same time drives farmers to increase their income.
Seeds are the foundation for modern agriculture. As a large agricultural production area in Beijing, Yanqing District vigorously promotes seed research and development and seedling cultivation, cultivates influential modern seed industry enterprises to grow and develop, drives farmers to increase their incomes, and promotes high-quality agricultural development. The “little potatoes” from Yanqing are taking root in more and more places at home and abroad, planting flowers of hope and bearing fruits of prosperity.